Lars Karlsson is President and CEO of KGH Border Services, Managing Director Global Consulting and Vice President of the KGH Group, an international border consultancy company with 750 experts in 40 offices in 12 countries. KGH has government clients in more than 50 countries and more than 14,000 private sector clients.
Lars Karlsson is also one of the most well-known customs leaders in the world and has an extensive background in customs and international trade policy. Mr. Karlsson has outstanding experience from government capacity building, reform, and modernization.
Lars Karlsson has written several books on customs topics. He is a well-known respected speaker and conference chairperson, having visited 164 countries and has worked in 120 around the world.
In 2001 Lars Karlsson received Her Royal Highness the Swedish Crown Princess’ Gothia Prize for the best innovation of the year. In 2003 Lars Karlsson was nominated as Swedish Manager of the Year. In 2016 Lars Karlsson was awarded a Doctor of Education (Honoris Causas) by Charles Sturt University, Australia. Citation for the conferral: “Mr. Lars Karlsson is one of the most renowned customs leaders in the world who has made a significant contribution to the public good through his outstanding input and influence in the professional practice of customs education and capacity building”.
Lars Karlsson holds a Masters in International Customs Law and Administration, a Post Graduate Diploma in International Customs Law and Administration from Canberra University. He has academic merits in the fields of Management (Universities of Uppsala, Sweden/Cranfield University, UK) and ICT (University of Lulea, Sweden).
Dr. Karlsson is an honorary fellow of the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU) and is a Member of the International Advisory Board of International Network of Customs Universities (INCU).
2010-2012 Lars Karlsson served as Director of Customs in Sweden.
In 2005, Lars Karlsson was elected Director for Capacity Building of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and for a five-year term he was leading reform and modernization projects in more than 120 countries. In the WCO he managed the capacity building, technical assistance, ICT & technical developments, border coordination, HR developments, Leadership, management and organizational development, education, integrity & anti-corruption matters, as well as the implementation of international standards like i.e. the SAFE Framework of Standards in 180 member countries. He was also the WCO contact point for coordination of and cooperation with international institutions and organizations, like EU, WTO, OECD, UN, IMO, Interpol, OESC, WorldBank, IMF and others.
In 2004, Lars Karlsson was appointed Deputy Director General (Commissioner) of Swedish Customs. From 1996-2004 he was Deputy Chairman of ICT & Development (HQ). Prior to this, he served for more than 15 years as manager and project manager within Swedish Customs. Mr. Karlsson was a permanent member of the Management Board of Swedish Customs 1996-2005, 2010-2012.
Lars Karlsson is the architect behind the 1st AEO programme in the world, the Stairway Concept. The Stairway outlined the principles for Authorised Traders and Authorised Economic Operator programmes. Lars Karlsson has been responsible for the development and implementation of a range of pioneer projects and systems such as the EU Risk Management Model, Paperless processes, the Stairway®, StairSec®, the Green Corridor®, Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), EMPACT – the EU model for Customs-Trade partnerships and cooperation, Result Based Management models, One-Stop-Show, Single Window and the Virtual Customs Office (eGov). He was a permanent member of the Swedish e-Government Board 1999-2005.
Lars Karlsson has been working internationally in projects and committees for decades. In the World Customs Organization, he initiated and developed the Columbus programme, the largest capacity building program to date. Under this programme Lars Karlsson met with Presidents, Ministers and Directors General from all around the world, leading and monitoring Government reform and modernization projects in all regions of the world.