BP poaches Ericsson chief

June 25, 2009
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, LONDON, Jun 25 – British energy giant BP on Thursday named Carl-Henric Svanberg, current chief executive of Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson, as the group\’s new chairman from 2010.

"BP is a recognised 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 recognised for his transformation of Ericsson.

"Our shared views on many aspects of global business give me great confidence that we will work very effectively together on the next phase of BP\’s progress."

In reaction to the news, BP\’s share price gained 0.13 percent to 478.45 pence in morning trade on London\’s FTSE 100 index of leading companies, which was 0.17 percent lower.

"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-percent slide in first-quarter net profits to 2.387 billion dollars (1.834 billion euros), 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.

Meanwhile in Stockholm on Thursday, Ericsson\’s share price slid 0.65 percent to 76.20 kronor as investors fretted about the loss the group\’s chief executive. The overall Swedish market was down 0.42 percent.

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