Volvo’s Global President and CEO has been removed and replaced by the boss of its biggest rival. Volvo announced its previous CEO, Olof Persson, is stepping down to be replaced by Martin Lundstedt, who has resigned as President and CEO of Scania. However, the transition is expected to take some time, so an interim CEO, Jan Gurander, has been appointed by Volvo in the interim.
“After three years of focus on product renewal, internal efficiency and restructuring, the Volvo Group is gradually entering a new phase with an intensified focus on growth and increased profitability,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of the Board of AB Volvo, when making the announcement. “This will be achieved by further building on our leading brands, strong assets and engaged and skilled employees all over the world. Martin Lundstedt has 25 years of experience from development, production and sales within the commercial vehicle industry. He is also known for his winning leadership style.”
Olof Persson has been President and CEO the Volvo Group for almost four years. However, speculation in the Swedish press suggested Persson was to be replaced, a month ago. This was completely denied by Volvo at the time, with Svanberg quoted by Reuters as saying he was not engaged in an active search to find a replacement for Persson, who had led a drive to boost profitability over the past nearly four years.
“Olof Persson has with energy and determination carried out an extensive change of the Volvo Group,” said Svanberg, this week. “He has focused Volvo on commercial vehicles and sold unrelated businesses and assets to a value of over $3.6 billion. He introduced a functional organization and paved the way for cost savings of $1.8 billion. He also concluded the agreement with one of China’s largest truck manufacturers, Dongfeng, and led the company during the largest product renewal in the group’s history. Today the Volvo Group is considerably better positioned to compete for leadership in our industry.”
Martin Lundstedt has spent his entire career at Scania, joining in 1992 as a trainee after obtaining an MSc in Industrial Management and Technology. He had led projects in Brazil, managed engine and truck production and headed the franchise and factory sales group before stepping into the considerable shoes of Leif Ostling, who had been in the job for 20 years, as President and CEO at Scania.
“We respect Martin Lundstedt’s decision to leave the company and wish to thank him for his successful efforts to further develop and strengthen Scania’s strong market position during his years as President and CEO,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Scania Board of Directors.
Per Hallberg, Executive Vice President, Head of Production and Logistics, has been announced as acting President and CEO, until a permanent successor to Lundstedt is found. Hallberg will keep his current management responsibilities as well.