Ericsson chairman Johansson to step down

Ericsson’s chairman of the board of directors Leif Johansson has said he will not make himself available for re-election at the shareholder’s AGM in 2018.

As a result, the Nomination Committee has initiated a search to find a replacement in time for the AGM.

According to the FT, the move was prompted by pressure from Cevian Capital, which acquired a 5.6% stake in Ericsson for $1 billion and subsequently heaped heavy criticism on the company’s board, with Christer Gardell, Cevian’s co-founder, saying they had done “a very poor job”.

It also notes that Börje Ekholm, Ericssson’s CEO, is supported by Cevian and favours a strategy that involves selling off its media unit.

Commenting on his decision, Johansson said: ”I have had the privilege to serve as chairman of the board since 2011. It has been an exciting but also challenging time. Börje Ekholm assumed the position as CEO in the beginning of the year and during the first quarter the company presented a new, more focused, business strategy. This strategy, which is supported by the board and the major owners, creates a solid foundation for realizing Ericsson’s full potential. The company now enters a new phase, with focus on execution, and we also have a new ownership constellation. It is 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”.