Tech giant Ericsson today announced that the Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors Leif Johansson is stepping down.
The official reason for the action is that he will not make himself available for reelection at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders 2018 and the Nomination committee has initiated the search for a replacement.
“Ericsson’s Nomination committee has initiated the work to find a replacement to Leif Johansson in time for the Annual General Meeting of shareholders in 2018,” the company said in a statement.
Commenting on the development, Leif Johansson said: ”I have had the privilege to serve as Chairman of the Board since 2011. It has been an exciting but also challenging time. Börje Ekholm assumed the position as CEO in the beginning of the year and during the first quarter the company presented a new, more focused, business strategy. This strategy, which is supported by the Board and the major owners, creates a solid foundation for realizing Ericsson’s full potential. The company now enters a new phase, with focus on execution, and we also have a new ownership constellation. It is natural to let the owners jointly propose a chairman and well ahead of this I want to announce that I will not be available for a next term”.
But Financial Times reported that the decision to resign was as a result of pressure from one of Europe’s largest activist investors, Cevian Capital, which had spent USD1 billion on a 5.6 per cent stake in Ericsson.
The shareholder had heavily criticised Ericsson’s board given the group’s poor performance, with Christer Gardell, Cevian’s co-founder, saying they had “done a very poor job”.