Ericsson Shuffles Top Management - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless
09:25 AM

Ericsson Shuffles Top Management

The wireless networking equipment maker has named a new CEO and CFO.

Facing a tough market for networking equipment sales, Ericsson has named a new chief financial officer and executive vice president to its leadership team.

Jan Frykhammar has been appointed as CFO; he will assume the role at the beginning of November. Frykhammar will replace Hans Vestberg, who will become CEO at the beginning of 2010. Frykhammar had been the head of the global services unit since the beginning of 2008, and he will remain in that position until a successor is named.

"After a careful selection process, he came out as the number one candidate and I am happy to welcome him in his new role on the group management team," Vestberg said of Frykhammar in a statement.

Ericsson's board of directors also appointed Johan Wibergh executive VP as of the beginning of 2010. Wibergh is currently head of the business unit networks and will remain in this role, the company said.

The company had largely been able to avoid serious impacts of the global economic recession until last quarter, where it saw profits plunge 71%. The company is facing sluggish demand globally partially due to tight credit conditions in certain markets. Rivals such as Huawei and ZTE are aggressively looking to gain market share by slashing prices.

Ericsson has fared better than many of its rivals over the last year or so, as other telecom equipment makers have been battered by the economic climate. Nokia took a $1.4 billion write-down on its networking equipment venture with Siemens, and Nortel collapsed and is in the process of selling off its assets.

Ericsson's bottom line is also hurting because its handset venture with Sony is struggling to keep pace with Apple, Nokia, and Research In Motion in the high-margin smartphone business. Sony Ericsson has posted five consecutive quarterly losses, but the handset maker said its cost-cutting initiatives and a new portfolio of multimedia-friendly smartphones will help it get back to profitability next year.

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