Husqvarna Replacing CEO Linnarson After Two Years in Post

Husqvarna AB, the world’s biggest maker of powered garden tools, said it will replace Hans Linnarson as chief executive officer in mid-2013, about two years after he took charge of the manufacturer.

Kai Waern, a former CEO of Seco Tools AB, will take over on July 1, the Stockholm-based company said today in a statement. Linnarson will retire early in 2014, it said.

Husqvarna has struggled to boost sales and earnings since Linnarson took charge in June 2011. The exiting CEO made “great contributions” during “a couple of challenging years,” Chairman Lars Westerberg said in the statement. Husqvarna said in November that it plans to eliminate about 600 jobs to cut costs amid tough market conditions in the Americas and Europe.

“The market has been waiting for this a long time, and perhaps given up, but in the end it happened,” David Jacobsson, an analyst at Pareto Securities, said.

Waern, 54, was CEO of Seco from 2004 to 2010. Prior to that, he spent almost two decades at ABB Ltd., the largest maker of power transformers. More recently, he worked as operations partner at private-equity firm IK Investment Partners.

“There will be no big revolution” under the new CEO, Westerberg said in a telephone interview. “Kai of course will add his small twists to things, but expect no big shifts.”

Husqvarna rose as much as 1 percent to 38.25 kronor and was trading up 0.6 percent at 10:16 a.m. in Stockholm. The shares, which have fallen 2.7 percent this year, have slid 17 percent since Linnarson became CEO.