Long-serving board member tasked with steering the Swedish kit maker through turbulent waters.
The appointment of Ericsson’s new president and CEO Börje Ekholm became effective on Monday, marking the beginning of a new and potentially turbulent chapter in the company’s history.
Ekholm has served on the Swedish kit maker’s board since 2006 and was named chief executive in October. He replaces Jan Frykhammar, who stepped up from his role as CFO to serve as acting CEO following the departure of Hans Vestberg in July 2016.
On Monday, Ericsson said that Frykhammar has been appointed executive vice president and advisor to Ekholm. He will support him during his transition period, focusing on corporate governance and efficiency. Carl Mellander, who has been acting CFO ever since Frykhammar stepped up as acting CEO, will keep his current role.
"Ericsson has shaped an entire industry and led technology developments that have benefitted so many. Yet, we are only at the beginning of the mobility journey as we in coming years will see massive transformation across industries as 5G is introduced," Ekholm said, in a statement.
However, with commercial 5G rollouts still many years away, and with major 4G coverage deployments largely completed in mature markets, the pressure is on Ericsson to find new areas to grow sales in the interim.
Towards the end of last year, Ericsson predicted that the addressable market for its networks division – its biggest revenue driver – will see an annual CAGR of -2%-0% in 2016-2018.
Last week, Fitch ratings downgraded its outlook on Ericsson to negative from stable, citing concerns about its turnaround strategy amid the slowdown in the mobile infrastructure market.
"I am confident that Börje Ekholm will be able to guide Ericsson on the next steps of the company’s development," said Leif Johansson, chairman of Ericsson.
"Having served on the Ericsson board of directors for many years, Börje has a deep understanding of the business and the challenges Ericsson currently faces," he said.
Johansson also thanked acting CEO Frykhammar, saying he has led Ericsson "in a very dedicated and professional way."