Swedish telecoms company Ericsson has nominated Ronnie Leten as its new chairman following the decision by Leif Johansson to step down after criticism from activist investors.
The struggling telecoms equipment maker said in a statement the company’s nomination committee will propose Mr Leten as new chairman of the board.
Mr Leten, a Belgian, is currently chairman of Electrolux, the Swedish home appliance company. From 2009-2017 he was chief executive of Atlas Copco, the industrial equipment supplier.
Mr Johansson, who had been chairman since 2011, said in July he would not put himself forward at the group’s 2018 annual meeting.
Announcing his resignation, Mr Johansson said the company now had “a new ownership constellation” adding it was “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”.
This was seen as a reference to Cevian Capital, one of Europe’s largest activist investors, which bought a 5.6 per cent stake in May.
Cevian has been critical of the share structure at Ericsson where AB Investor, a vehicle of the Wallenberg family, owns 5.9 per cent of the capital but controls 21.8 per cent of the votes, while Industrivarden, another Wallenberg vehicle, has a 2.6 per cent of the capital and a 15.1 per cent voting power.
The chairman of the nomination committee, Johan Forssell, chief executive of Investor AB, said on Monday said the committee had “worked intensively and constructively during recent months” in believed “in Ronnie Leten, we have found the right person to assume the position as Chairman in Ericsson, providing experience and competence that will benefit the company.”
Cevian, which has one member on the 6-member nomination committee, has previously pushed for radical change at companies such as Volvo, Danske Bank and ThyssenKrupp.