Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 08:23 UK

BP names Svanberg as new chairman

Carl-Henric Svanberg
Mr Svanberg had been boss at Ericsson for seven years

Oil giant BP has appointed the chief executive of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson as its chairman to replace Peter Sutherland.

Carl-Henric Svanberg will join the oil giant's board in September and take over as chairman on 1 January 2010.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward said that Mr Sutherland would be "a hard act to follow".

"He has been an outstanding chairman, guiding BP through one of the most successful periods in its history".

'International stature'

Ericsson said that, under Mr Svanberg's seven-year leadership. the firm had "become the industry's most profitable company and its market position has been tremendously strengthened".

He joins BP at a challenging time, with almost 40% of shareholders having rejected the company's remuneration report at this year's annual meeting.

Analysts say he also needs to expand the company's presence in emerging markets such as China and India.

Mr Hayward said he was confident that he and Mr Svanberg would "work effectively together on the next phase of BP's progress".

"He is a businessman of international stature who is recognised for his transformation of Ericsson," he said.

Mining target

In April, consultancy firm PIRC advised investors to vote out Mr Sutherland because of his role as non-executive director of the Royal Bank of Scotland - however he was re-elected with more than 95% support.

His departure was expected last year but was delayed by the decision not to proceed with the appointment of the initial favourite, Paul Skinner, the then-chairman of mining firm Rio Tinto.

It was reported that Mr Skinner withdrew from the role because of investor unease over Rio's plan to sell a chunk of the firm to Chinese state-owned Chinalco - a deal that was later dropped by Rio.

American mining and energy executive Paul Anderson, currently on BHP Billiton's board, had been seen as one of the frontrunners for the role of chairman at BP.

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