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Svanberg Said to Be Volvo Chairman Candidate, May Keep BP Role

BP Plc Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg is a leading candidate to take the same role at Swedish truckmaker Volvo AB (VOLVB) and may not need to give up his BP post to accept the job, a person familiar with the situation said.

Volvo hasn’t yet made an offer, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private. Svanberg, a Swedish national and the former chief executive officer of Ericsson AB, would be able to hold posts at both companies simultaneously, the person said.

“The chairman is completely committed to BP,” Robert Wine, a BP spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “He is an international business leader and this would show that he is in demand from other successful international companies for his business experience and leadership.”

Svanberg, BP chairman since January 2010, attracted criticism in the U.S. after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year that cost CEO Tony Hayward his job. After a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, he said BP cares about the “little people” affected by the disaster.

Volvo spokesman Marten Wikforss declined to comment. Caroline De Gezelle, a spokeswoman at Volvo’s largest shareholder, Renault SA, didn’t immediately return calls. Sverker Sivall, head of investor relations at Industrivarden AB, Volvo’s second- largest shareholder, declined to comment.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported today Svanberg may be appointed Volvo chairman within a few weeks and the two largest shareholders have agreed on the appointment.

Wine said that Svanberg is contracted to work three days a week at BP and that the company supports its non-executive directors taking on responsibilities outside the company because they can expand the breadth of experience and knowledge.

Svanberg is also currently chairman of Sony Ericsson Mobile Comms.

BP shares are down 33 percent since the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 people and led to the 4 million-barrel oil spill. The company has provisioned $40 billion to pay for the accident, including the $20 billion fund for victims demanded by Obama.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net; Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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