Ericsson chairman to step down

Natalie Bannerman
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Leif Johansson, chairman of Ericsson's board of directors, will step aside as the company enters into 'a new phase'

Chairman of Ericsson’s board of directors Leif Johansson, has said that he will not seek re-election at the company’s Annual General Meeting, in 2018.

Johansson who has been in the role since 2011, in a statement said: “I have had the privilege to serve as chairman of the board since 2011,” said Johansson. “It has been an exciting but also challenging time. Börje Ekholm assumed the position as CEO in the beginning of the year and during the first quarter the company presented a new, more focused, business strategy.”

Neither Johansson nor the company have confirmed the reasons for his standing down, but there are indications that it may be due to growing investor pressure, particularly in light of Cevian Capital buying a 5.6 percent stake in the company a mere two months ago.

“It is natural to let the owners jointly propose a chairman and well ahead of this I want to announce that I will not be available for a next term,” said Johansson.

This change in leadership also aligns itself with the company’s new restructuring plans. In an announcement made in March CEO Börje Ekholm said that the company would refocus on networks, digital services and IoT in an attempt to boost profit, in light of the company’s poor performance in recent years. A performance that saw revenue fall 11 percent and recorded a net loss of SEK12.3 billion in the first three months of the year.

“This strategy, which is supported by the Board and the major owners, creates a solid foundation for realizing Ericsson’s full potential. The company now enters a new phase, with focus on execution, and we also have a new ownership constellation,“ said Johansson.