Telia gets new boss

Sweden and Finland's largest telecoms operator, TeliaSonera, has appointed Lars Nyberg as its CEO.

Nyberg, who was credited with reviving the fortunes of US company National Cash Register in the mid-nineties and who has also worked for AT&T, was described as a “visionary leader” by TeliaSonera’s chairman on Friday.

Nyberg takes over after Anders Igel, who was fired in mid-June. A relative unknown in Sweden, he moved back from the US in 2003, since when he has sat on a number of company boards.

“He is admired and well-known in the United States,” said chairman Tom von Weyman.

“Among his most important qualities are his ability to enthuse people and to bring them along with him. The fact that he could turn around a company on the edge of bankruptcy is perhaps not his most important attribute in this context, but it’s not bad to know that he can lead a company at a time of change,” Weyman said.

Nyberg is in full agreement with TeliaSonera’s board about the future direction of the company, Weyman said.

The announcement came as Telia revealed its second-quarter results, which held few surprises for investors. Turnover rose 5 percent to 23.9 billion kronor, but profits were slightly lower than expected. The company’s pre-tax profits stood at 5.6 billion kronor, compared to 6.1 billion in the same period last year. The number of subscriptions rose to 103.4 million.

Acting CEO and finance director Kim Ignatius said he was pleased with the results, and noted that the company had grown at a record rate in the first six months of the year. Margins had been affected by increased spending on networks and on advertising.

“The competitive situation has become a bit tougher and we want to ensure that we grow in the future as well. That’s why we’ve put a further 200 million kronor into advertising,” he said.