Ericsson's Big Leap

Its new boss is stressing software and eyeing acquisitions

When Sven-Christer Nilsson was summoned to L.M. Ericsson's Stockholm headquarters for an early-morning chat with CEO Lars Ramqvist last month, he had an inkling of what to expect. After all, Nilsson and 19 other Ericsson insiders had undergone two days of psychological tests as part of Ramqvist's half-year hunt for a successor. Nilsson knew he was in the running for one of the most demanding jobs in Swedish industry. Yet when Ramqvist leaned over the boardroom suite's burled wood coffee table that day and asked him whether he'd take the job, Nilsson played it cool--and ultimately took a week to get back to Ramqvist with his answer.

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