Ericsson AB Chairman Michael Treschow plans to step down from overseeing the world’s biggest maker of mobile-phone networks in the next two years, saying the manufacturer is “in good shape.”
Treschow, 67, will leave Stockholm-based Ericsson next year or in 2012, the company said today in a statement. A successor to Treschow, who became chairman in March 2002, will be appointed at one of the next two annual shareholders’ meetings, Ericsson said.
“This is something that has grown inside me since the latter part of the fall,” Treschow said today in a phone interview. “Nine years is a long time. The company is also very stable and in good shape. The combination probably makes for a good time to find somebody else.”
The executive took over after a decline in sales led to Ericsson’s first full-year loss in more than half a century in 2001, prompting the company to sell 30 billion kronor ($4.4 billion) in stock and cut its workforce to restore earnings. Ericsson said on Oct. 22 that third-quarter net income jumped almost fivefold from a year earlier.
“The best accomplishment was probably to navigate Ericsson out of the crisis in 2002,” Treschow said. “At that time we had to go from 110,000 employees to 40,000 employees in about two years time. To be able to do that without actually dying in the process was the biggest achievement in my time.”
Ericsson fell as much as 0.9 krona, or 1.1 percent, to 73.8 kronor and was down 1 percent as of 11:32 a.m. in Stockholm trading. That pared the stock’s gain this year to 12 percent, valuing the company at 241 billion kronor.
Treschow, who is a member of Ericsson’s nomination committee, declined to comment on who may replace him. Treschow also said has no plans to leave the chairmanship of London- and Rotterdam-based Unilever Plc, the world’s second-largest consumer goods maker, a post he has held since 2007.
Immediately before joining Ericsson, Treschow was chief executive officer of Electrolux AB. He was CEO of Atlas Copco AB, the world’s largest maker of air compressor and rock drills, from 1991 until moving to the Electrolux post in 1997.