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    Obituary: Ivan Snehota 1946-2022

    Ivan Snehota 1946-2022

    No researcher is an island. But occasionally one can meet an unusually gifted researcher, whose work becomes a beacon in an archipelago difficult to navigate. Ivan Snehota was one of those, whose contributions became shoulders for others to stand on. For colleagues in market studies; especially for us in the IMP research community, and also for fellows engaged in other disciplines, among others history, sociology, economic geography, and Science & Technology Studies.

    Ivan’s engagement in research and teaching covered the empirical characteristics of business exchange and the business landscape, and especially, how to capture these aspects theoretically and methodologically. For more than five decades he was eager to discuss these topics with undergraduate students, PhD-students and researchers, and last but not least, with business managers.

    Ivan held his first lectures in Uppsala in the early 1970s. In January 2022 he gave his last lecture, to business managers at Siemens. In 1976 he published his first book, together with Håkan Håkansson; Marknadsplanering. Ett sätt att skapa nya problem? (Market planning. A way to create new problems?). The same year he was one of the researchers establishing a new international research project, involving participants from five European countries – later on known as IMP.

    In 1982 the first joint IMP Group publication was presented; International Marketing and Purchasing of Industrial Goods. An Interaction Approach. In 1984 the first annual IMP Conference was held in Manchester. In 2022 the 38th IMP Conference will be held in Florence, Italy.

    Ivan’s last book, ‘No business is an island’, published in 2017 together with Håkan Håkansson, presented the essence of IMP research, with contributions from researchers at 17 units in Europe. In between these publications, Ivan presented his findings in numbers of journals and books. He was also one of the originators of The IMP Journal launched in 2007; since 2018 part of Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, JBIM.

    We are so many scholars thinking ‘Ivan, he belonged to our team’. In Sweden, at Uppsala University, where he started his research carrier in the 1970s, and which he regularly returned to. At Stockholm School of Economics, where he was engaged during the second half of the 1990s. In Italy, were he in the 1980s was engaged in management consulting and as lecturer at SDA Bocconi School of Management and at University of Turin. In Switzerland, where he in the new millennium became professor at University of Lugano. And at many other places, where he was engaged in research cooperation and teaching.

    Ivan was a true cosmopolitan. To be born in Czechoslovakia in 1946 was to get an involuntarily lesson in geopolitics in the Cold War era. Ivan was abroad in August 1968, when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia to stop the ‘Prague Spring’. It took many years before he could see his Czech family again. During Ivan’s last months, he witnessed war in Europe again, and a new version of Cold War. If many people without his experience were surprised, Ivan was not.

    When Ivan entered a room, it immediately turned into a seminar, where no aspect was too tiny to be scrutinised and intensely discussed. Always spiced with Ivan’s significant analytical sharpness, deep theoretical and empirical skills – and last but not least, with his mischievous humour. We will remember Ivan as a unique and generous research colleague, always ready to support others. But most of all, we will remember Ivan for his fantastic ability to take care of his friends; with great hospitality and cooking skills.

    Håkan Håkansson, Antonella La Rocca, Lars-Erik Gadde, Alexandra Waluszewski
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