What makes him powerful: Svanberg became the president and CEO of Ericsson in 2003 when the company was experiencing a difficult downturn. Revenues had plunged 50 percent since 2000, and 55,000 employees had been cut. Svanberg helped turn that trend around and during his relatively short tenure he has overseen many acquisitions including the $2.1 billion purchase of Marconi in 2005.
But Ericsson isn't out the woods yet. The company saw its second-quarter profit plummet by 70 percent because of costs associated with cutting jobs and the struggles associated with its Sony Ericsson handset joint venture, which reported a whopping 97 percent drop in second-quarter profit, causing the JV to cut 2,000 positions.
Nevertheless, Svanberg, remains positive about the company's future prospects with emerging markets being seen as the major driving force. The company has managed to maintain its lead the world's mobile infrastructure market, but it faces stiff competition from Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent as well as from some Asian vendors, especially a buoyant Huawei. According to ABI Research, as of first quarter 2008 Ericsson had nearly 29 percent of the world's cellular infrastructure market.
One way Svanberg plans to keep his company on top is by touting it as a technology leader. The company has been making the most of its LTE and HSPA expertise. At the 2008 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Svanberg talked about how LTE would be commercially available as early as 2009 and the company demonstrated an end-to-end LTE call on handheld devices.