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Volvo picks insider Persson as new head

STOCKHOLM, Mar 16 – Volvo Group, the world\’s second-biggest truck-maker, said Wednesday it would appoint the head of its construction equipment unit, Olof Persson, as its new chief executive.

Persson, who will take over the helm on September 1, was widely expected to replace Leif Johansson, who is moving to become the chairman of the board at mobile phone network maker Ericsson.

"During his time at Volvo Aero and Volvo Construction Equipment, Olof Persson has gained the right experience and demonstrated the characteristics that make him highly suited to take over as President of AB Volvo and CEO of the Volvo Group," the company\’s chairman Louis Schweitzer said in a statement.

The Volvo board said it had "reviewed a large number of both internal and external candidates for some time … Persson was chosen due, among other factors, to his experience in managing large global organisations and to his successes as president of two of the Volvo Group\’s subsidiaries."

Persson said "naturally, it is both an honour and a challenge to be provided with the opportunity to lead Sweden\’s largest company … I am truly looking forward to the task."

Volvo\’s largest union, Metall, said it was positive on the appointment.

"We support this. We know him already and think this will be a good thing," Mikael Saellstroem, the head of Metall at Volvo, told TT news agency.

Johansson 59, has been Volvo\’s chief executive since 1997 and refocused the company on heavy vehicles, selling its car business in 1999 to Ford, which in turn sold it to China\’s Geely last year.

Ericsson announced earlier this month that Johansson would be taking over as its chairman.

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