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New Ericsson CEO to ‘forcefully execute’ revival strategy

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Cristina Arias | Cover | Getty Images

Ericsson announced Swedish businessman and current board member, Börje Ekholm, as its new chief executive on Wednesday in an effort to turn the tide on a company in turmoil.

Ekholm, who will assume responsibility on January 16, 2017, said in a statement, "I am very excited about this opportunity. As the networks and applications become even more important in a 5G connected world, our customers, and the industry, look for continuous innovation."

He previously worked as president and CEO of the Wallenberg family investment business, Investor AB, from 2005 through until 2015.


Broadly positive

UBS analyst, Gareth Jenkins said in a research note on Wednesday that the announcement of Ekholm as the new CEO was "broadly positive".

He added, "the new CEO will be faced with the challenge of repointing the core business into new areas given increasing commoditization and at a time when the balance sheet strength has deteriorated."

The Swedish telecommunications company is in desperate need of a resurgence having ousted Ekholm's predecessor, Hans Vestberg, after months of criticism, issuing significant profit warnings and announcing thousands of job cuts at the start of October.

New strategic direction needed

Ericsson's share price, which has fallen around 43 percent this calendar year, was trading 0.92 percent down in Europe's mid-morning trade, shortly after the announcement.

Ericsson's Board of Director's Chairman, Leif Johansson, said in a statement, "In the middle of a significant company transformation I am confident that Ericsson will benefit from Börje Ekholm's world-class ability to forcefully execute on strategic direction and plans."

"Börje Ekholm brings years of experience from leading a publicly listed company with a strong track record of driving shareholder value," he added,

Ekholm will also remain as a member of the board of directors during his tenure as CEO of Ericsson.