Ericsson mulls CEO successor

  • 2002-11-28

Swedish telecommunications equipment giant Ericsson has begun to think about finding a successor to chief executive Kurt Hellstroem, who could decide to retire next year, Ericsson Board Chairman Michael Treschow said Nov. 22.

"Since Kurt Hellstroem will be turning 60, we are thinking about what we will do" if Hellstroem decides to retire as he is entitled to do under the terms of his contract, Treschow said.

"But we have not yet begun the search," he stressed.

Treschow would not disclose what qualities the group would be looking for in a new Ericsson chief.

The Swedish media has speculated about a number of internal Ericsson candidates, including operations chief Per-Arne Sandstroem, the head of the global services unit Karl Henrik Sundstroem, and Bert Nordberg, the head of Ericsson Systems.

Kurt Hellstroem has headed Ericsson since 1999, succeeding ousted chief executive Sven-Christer Nilsson. At the time of his appointment, he was considered an interim chief, and rumors circulated that he was only moderately interested in the job.

But he impressed markets from the start, leading the group to a record profit of 28.7 billion kronor (3.19 billion euros) in 2000.

The group has since posted losses following the slump in the telecommunication industry but has predicted a return to profit next year following severe cutbacks.

The Ericsson share, which at the peak of the high-tech boom in March 2000 was worth more than 200 kronor, dropped as low as 3.37 kronor on Sept. 30.