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BP

Obama summons Svanberg over oil spill

US president Barrack Obama has called BP's Swedish chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to a meeting at the White House to discuss the Mexican Gulf oil catastrophe.

Obama summons Svanberg over oil spill

Carl-Henric Svanberg, who took over as BP chairman only in January, has been asked to attend a meeting on June 16th over what has been described as “America’s worst environmental disaster”.

“Our administration is not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods,” Thad Allen, a Coast Guard admiral who is heading the US government response, in his letter to Svanberg.

Svanberg has come into criticism in the media for his silence over the developing oil spill. The former Ericsson CEO’s response has been that the management of the crisis in a operations issue and thus the responsibility of CEO Tony Howard, who has not been invited to the meeting.

President Obama last week said if Howard had worked for him he would have been fired.

The Deepwater Horizon leak is reported to have been spewing as much as 40,000 barrels per day into the Mexican Gulf, according ot he US Geological Survey cited by the BBC, before a cap was put on the leak on June 3rd.

“The potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy, and its people require relentless efforts to stop the leak and contain the damage,” Allen said, adding that BP is responsible for the full costs of the spill.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is due to meet with President Obama on the weekend to discuss the spill amid assurances that US-UK ties will not be affected by the crisis.

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VOLVO

Svanberg chosen to head Volvo board: report

BP's criticised chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg will soon be appointed head of the board of the world's second-largest truck maker Volvo, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reported on Thursday.

Svanberg chosen to head Volvo board: report

“Carl-Henric Svanberg will take over as the new chairman of the board for Volvo … The announcement is expected to be made in a few weeks,” the newspaper wrote.

SvD said the appointment had been approved by Volvo’s two biggest owners, Renault and Industrivärden.

If the move is confirmed, Svanberg would replace Louis Schweitzer of France.

Svanberg is one of Sweden’s top business executives, and has formerly served as the chief executive of telecom networks giant Ericsson and locks and security company Assa Abloy.

He has however been heavily criticised in his position at BP.

He had only been chairman of the British energy giant for a few months when a massive explosion on April 20, 2010 rocked the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP.

Svanberg was lambasted for his low profile in the crucial weeks after the spill and Britain’s Independent newspaper called him “the invisible man” while a Swedish daily referred to his “ostrich tactics.”

Criticism also raged after a meeting with US President Barack Obama on the White House lawn when the Swede said BP “cared about the small people.”

Should Svanberg move to Volvo, a Swedish switcheroo would be complete: Volvo’s former chief executive Leif Johansson was recently appointed chairman of Ericsson.

The two men have long been considered Sweden’s most successful business

leaders.

Reflecting on the news, car industry expert Mikael Wickelgren at the University of Gothenburg said Svanberg’s appointment makes a lot of sense.

”It wasn’t really a surprise. Svanberg has been what you could call a management star in Sweden for a decade now and considering that Volvo had made the announcement of his predecessor’s departure long ago it was quite a logical step to take for both sides,” he told The Local.

”What Svanberg can bring to the table is the benefit of his recent experience of working with a large international organisation. Even though it is too early to say if it is the right move or not, it can be seen a positive step for the company to have him at the helm.”

Despite inevitable protests, not least in the wake of Svanberg’s handling of the BP oil spill crisis, Wickelgren doesn’t believe his appointment will cause much of an upset.

”You could say it was a controversial appointment, but any candidate for such a position would have something that could be held against them” he added.

Volvo has so far refused to comment on the report.

“The company never comments on these kinds of questions,” spokesman Mårten Wikforss told AFP.

When The Local contacted Volvo on Friday, the company confirmed they would not comment on shareholder issues.

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