Svanberg proposed to head Volvo board

Svanberg proposed to head Volvo board
Truck maker Volvo has officially proposed BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to be appointed head of its board at the annual general meeting in April, the Swedish company announced on Monday.

“The election committee of AB Volvo proposes the election of Carl-Henric Svanberg as new chairman of the board at the annual general meeting on April 4th, 2012,” the world’s second-largest truck maker said in a statement.

There were rumours circulating as early as last week in the Swedish media that Svanberg would be chosen, although at the time Volvo refused to comment.

However, after the nomination became public on Monday the company’s nomination committee said that Svanberg has been “recognized as a highly skilled leader” and that he “has long and profound experience as president of world-leading companies.”

According to the company, Svanberg is also expected to stay on at BP.

“He has the ability and the capacity to manage both jobs,” Volvo’s election committee chairman Carl-Olof By told Swedish news agency TT at a press conference in Gothenburg where Volvo made the announcement.

As head of the Volvo board, Svanberg will replace Louis Schweitzer of France who has declined re-election.

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

He was lambasted for his low profile in the crucial weeks after the spill– 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.”

Svanberg’s move to Volvo completes a top-level switcheroo in Swedish business circles: 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


When the initial rumours that Svanberg was to take over hit Swedish media last week, car industry expert Mikael Wickelgren of Gothenburg University told The Local that appointing Svanberg would make a lot of sense for the company.

”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,” said Wickelgren at the time.

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