Ericsson CEO Svanberg to leave at year-end

Ericsson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg will step down at the end of the year and become chairman of the oil giant BP. The Swedish equipment maker's CFO, Hans Vestberg, will replace him as CEO on Jan. 1, 2010.  

Svanberg, who is also chairman of Sony Ericsson, will remain on Ericsson's board. He will leave the company as it is in the midst of cost cuts and as the telecom equipment markets remain in flux. Svanberg arrived in 2003 and has helped turn Ericsson into the world's largest wireless equipment vendor. The company has also become a leading proponent of LTE technology under his watch.

Vestberg has been with the company since 1991, and Michael Treschow, the chairman of Ericsson's board, expressed confidence in Vestberg's leadership abilities. Vestberg said in an interview with Bloomberg News that Ericsson would support its Sony Ericsson joint venture with more capital if needed. He also said he did not plan on deepening the cost cuts started this year. "Right now the program we announced at the beginning of the year is the program we're executing," he said.  

Ericsson posted a 35 percent drop in net income for the first quarter, hit largely by its joint ventures. The company will report second quarter earnings July 24.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg News article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this release

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