Ericsson’s CEO steps down as the company begins search for a replacement

After a half-dozen years heading the company, Hans Vestberg is out as Ericsson’s CEO. The Swedish telecommunications giant announced today that the exec is stepping down from his post effective immediately. Jan Frykhammar, who has been working for the company since 1991 will be stepping in as interim CEO as Ericsson searches for a full-time replacement.

Vestberg joined the company the same year, straight out of college. He was appointed to Ericsson’s board in 2003 and was promoted to CFO four years later. His appointment to the head of the company was announced in 2009, with the new role officially commencing at the beginning of the following year.

At the time, it was noted that Vestberg had been groomed for the role for some time, but under his leadership the company has struggled to maintain its position in a rapidly changing telecommunications environment and increased competition from relatively new players like Huawei.

In a statement issued around the announcement, the executive acknowledged that the time was right for a change, stating, “As the industry enters a next phase, driven by 5G, IoT and Cloud, it is time for a new CEO to step in and continue the work to ensure Ericsson’s industry leadership.”

Frykhammar, too, most recently served as CFO. Though the company’s Chairman of the Board Leif Johansson explained that the longtime employee is not seeking to make the promotion permanent. “Jan has made it clear that he is not aspiring to permanently take on the CEO role. However, I am very pleased that he has accepted this assignment. Jan will secure continued strong execution and leadership in the current situation.”

Ericsson VP & Group Treasurer Carl Mellander will be stepping in as CFO during the transition.