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Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg steps down

Hans Vestberg

Hans Vestberg

Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has stepped down as president, CEO and member of the board of directors with immediate effect.

Executive vice-president and chief financial officer (CFO), Jan Frykhammar, will replace Vestberg on an interim basis until a successor is named, with Ericsson initiating a recruitment process that will look at external and internal candidates.

Vestberg’s departure follows a 28-year career at Ericsson, the last seven of which he served as CEO – through a period that Ericsson said was characterised by “significant industry and company transformation”.

“Hans has been instrumental in building strong relationships with key customers around the world and his leadership and energy have been an inspiration to employees and leaders across Ericsson,” said Ericsson chairman of the board, Leif Johansson.

“However, in the current environment and as the company accelerates its strategy execution, the board of directors has decided that the time is right for a new leader to drive the next phase in Ericsson’s development.”

Vestberg said: “As the industry enters a next phase, driven by 5G, IoT and cloud, it is time for a new CEO to step in and continue the work to ensure Ericsson’s industry leadership.”

The news follows a report in Swedish financial press last week that Ericsson’s main owners and investors had agreed there should be a change at the top and that a new chief exec should be installed as soon as a replacement can be found.

This came after Ericsson’s second quarter results failed to meet market expectations, with the company reporting an 11% year-on-year sales drop to SEK54.1 billion and a 26% fall in net income to SEK1.6 billion.

Interim CEO Frykhammar first joined Ericsson 1991, and has since held various positions in finance and business control. In 2009 he became executive vice president, CFO and head of group function finance, and before that he was head of business unit global services.