H&M heir to assume CEO position in July

Swedish clothing retailer Hennes and Mauritz announced that the company founder’s 33-year-old grandson would take over as CEO.

Karl-Johan Persson, the grandson of Erling Persson who founded the H&M group in 1947 and son of Stefan Persson, the current chairman of the board, will take over on July 1 upon the retirement of current CEO Rolf Eriksen.

Persson has had an operational role within H&M since 2005 and is currently the head of H&M’s “expansion, business development and brand and new business,” the company said.

He has also served on H&M’s board of directors since 2006.

“I have a strong commitment to H&M and a long-term view of the company. H&M’s development since it started over 60 years ago has been fantastic and there is still much to do,” he said in a statement.

“H&M’s business concept works internationally and we are well prepared for continued growth,” he added.

Hennes and Mauritz has so far bucked the economic gloom and doom, reporting strong profit gains for the full-year 2008 and announcing the creation of up to 7,000 jobs in 2009.

The group, known for its trendy yet affordable fashions, said its year to November 2008 net profit rose 12.5 percent from a year earlier to 15.29 billion kronor ($1.89 billion) with sales up 13 percent at 88.53 billion kronor.