Two of telecom group Ericsson’s main shareholders, Investor and Industrivärden, have decided that the current chief executive Hans Vestberg needs to step down as soon as a replacement can be found, reports Dagens Industri, citing unnamed sources.
“The problem is that it can be difficult to find a suitable successor who would take the job. There are no internal candidates and the external candidates may be discourage by the situation in Ericsson,” a source told DI.
Both Investor and Industrivärden have declined to comment the information. Vestberg has been CEO since 2010.
On 20 March SVT reported that investment company Industrivärden had discovered a listening device at its office and reported the matter to the police. Later TV4 revealed that a GSM bugging device had been planted under a radiator in Industrivärden’s boardroom.
In an interview with TV4 in June, Sverker Martin Löf, the former chairman of the board of Industrivärden, was asked if he thought the new chairman Fredrik Lundberg lay behind the planting of the bug. Löf declined to comment, but said that Lundberg had moved forward his position after the discovery of the device.
Based on the police’s findings and sources within Industrivärden, DI can now reveal that the bug was not installed by an outsider to listen in on Industrivärden. Moreover the plan seems to have been hatched internally to discredit opponents and make the then senior management within Industrivärden appear the victim in the ongoing power struggle, say well-placed sources.
The prosecutor is now planning to close the investigation due to lack of evidence of interference from an outside party.
Helena Stjernholm, who has worked for private equity firm IK Investment Partners for 17 years, will succeed Anders Nyrén as chief executive of the Lundberg sphere’s investment company Industrivärden.
“She has a good track record, has done well and worked on issues relevant to Industrivärden. She simply has a suitable background,” said Fredrik Lundberg, chair of Industrivärden, who pointed out that Stjernholm was one of several candidates for the top job.
Those who have previously criticised the culture at Industrivärden lauded the appointment of Stjernholm, whose primary task will be to rebuild trust in the dented business empire and also manage the controversial system of cross-ownership within the sphere.