Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm could step down from his role within the next six months according to reports in Sweden.
Ekholm was appointed as CEO of the Swedish telecommunications equipment firm in January 2017, having previously served as CEO of Patricia Industries and as CEO of Investor AB – Ericsson’s largest shareholder.
He was seen as the ideal firefighter to tackle numerous challenges that led to the departure of his predecessor Hans Vestberg. These included weak profitability, intense competition from the likes of Huawei and Nokia, and the need to restructure.
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Newspaper Dagens Industri says there is a recognition that he has brought stability to the company but investors believed a fresh approach was needed to harness the opportunities afforded by 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe has reportedly been earmarked as Ekholm’s successor having announced his own departure earlier this year. Investor AB is also Saab’s biggest shareholder.
Under Ekholm’s tenure, Ericsson’s 5G strategy has accelerated. The Ericsson Radio System (ERS) is used by operators around the world, while earlier this year it acquired the antenna and filter business of German firm Kathrein.
It has made significant gains in the US – where Huawei is excluding from participating – and stands to benefit from any sanctions that might be applied in Europe.
Ericsson is opening manufacturing and research facilities in North America to speed up deployment and improve customer service. Ericsson’s Austin ASIC Design Centre in Austin, Texas focuses on the core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations and will employ 90 staff, while a new software development centre will house more than 200 engineers working on 5G software. Both will introduce 5G products and software features into the company’s wider portfolio.
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