BP Poaches Ericsson Chief as New Chairman

Carl-Henric Svanberg, current chief executive of Ericsson will be new chairman

BP on June 25 named Carl-Henric Svanberg, current chief executive of Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson, as the group's new chairman from 2010. "BP is a recognized world leader in the energy sector and it's a great privilege to be invited to lead its board," Svanberg said in a statement announcing his appointment.

"Following such a distinguished predecessor is quite a challenge but I'm hugely excited about joining the energy industry which is so much at the heart of the global economy. I look forward to it with relish." BP chief executive Tony Hayward paid tribute to Peter Sutherland, who will step down as the group's chairman after 12 years. He added that Svanberg, 57, was chosen because of his character and good track record.

"Peter Sutherland has been an outstanding chairman, guiding the company through one of the most successful periods in its history. He will be a hard act to follow," Hayward said. "But I am sure Carl-Henric will be a worthy successor. He is a businessman of international stature who is recognized for his transformation of Ericsson.

"The announcement of Carl-Henric Svanberg as chairman of BP should be well received by the markets," said ETX Capital trader Manoj Ladwa. Svanberg had "a good track record at Ericsson, reviving the fortunes of a struggling giant," Ladwa noted, adding that he was "a safe hand on the tiller as BP navigates some very stormy waters and rebuilds its operational strength."

In April, BP posted a 62% slide in first-quarter net profits to $2.387 billion dollars, as the price of crude oil halved in line with a global economic slump. The company has slashed more than 5,000 jobs as it seeks to cut costs and improve its profitability.

Ericsson has appointed vice president Hans Vestberg to replace Svanberg. Vestberg, 44, is currently Ericsson's chief financial officer and vice president, and has in recent years been seen as Svanberg's possible successor.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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