Ebba Ljunggren was managing director of the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper. She spent nearly fifty years working for that paper.
Ebba Elvira Ljunggren was born in Stockholm in 1887. Her father, August Lindberg, was a watchmaker and her mother was called Sophie, née Bongberg. She had a sister who was two years her junior, named Märta. After attending Klara folkskola Ebba Ljunggren then enrolled at Bröderna Påhlmans Handelsinstitut (now Påhlmans Handelsinstitut, business school) in Stockholm, as the youngest student ever to attend that institution. She completed a one-year course at the school, which offered courses in commercial correspondence, book-keeping, business theory and accounting, all skills which served her well in her future career.
In 1902, aged only 15, she began to work as finance officer and advertising agent for Puck, a politically radical satirical Stockholm-based journal which had been established just the year before. It was a rival of another satirical publication, the Söndags-Nisse. Puck was published and edited by Hugo Vallentin. It was while working for this journal that Ebba Ljunggren met the artist Gustaf Ljunggren. He was also a cartoonist and created comic serials and later on his work would also be published in the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper. The couple married in 1911 and their son Stig was born in 1914. Ebba Ljunggren carried on working at Puck until 1915.
That year Edvard Alkman, editor-in-chief of the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper was looking for an office manager. Ebba Ljunggren was appointed to the post ahead of ten male applicants. She and her family moved to Gothenburg, where her daughter Karin was born in 1919. In 1926 Harry Hjörne replaced Alkman as chief editor and publisher of GP, which was experiencing financial difficulties and needed to undergo re-organisation. Ebba Ljunggren “managed things with an iron hand in a velvet glove”. She and Hjörne took over some of the one thousand shares in the company whilst other staff members also helped out.
Ebba Ljunggren displayed great financial acumen and Hjörne, recognising her value, gave her considerable freedom in running the financial side of things. Indeed, he appointed her managing director of GP. The two of them, along with technical director Filip Börjesson who was also a member of GP’s board, formed a “triumvirate within the history of Swedish newspapers”. When new premises were being constructed for the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper Ebba Ljunggren largely took charge of these matters and in 1953 moved GP from Östra Hamngatan to Polhemsplatsen in the Stampen section of Gothenburg. In 1948 Ebba Ljunggren was appointed CEO of the newspaper. Indeed, when GP came up for discussion in various Stockholm newspapers Ebba Ljunggren tended to be described as “clever, wise, energetic”.
Ebba Ljunggren retired in May 1964 after having spent 62 years working within the newspaper trade and 48 and a half years working at the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper. At the time, aged 77, she was the oldest female CEO in Sweden and also the oldest managing director of a newspaper. The following year she was hailed by AB Pressresor to whom she had transferred her responsibility. She enjoyed three years of retirement with her husband before he passed away in 1967.
Ebba Ljunggren herself died in 1978, aged 91. Her remains like at Örgryte old cemetery in Gothenburg. In 1988, to honour his parents, Stig Ljunggren set up the memorial foundation Stiftelsen Ebba och Gustaf Ljunggrens Minnesfond, and since 1997 Högskolan för scen och music (college of the performing arts) has run the Ljunggren competition for young musicians in conjunction with the foundation.