Ericsson chairman announces plans to resign in next 2 years

Michael Treschow says cusp of mobile broadband revolution 'right time' for successor

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Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson Chairman Michael Treschow will resign within the next two years, the Swedish telecommunications equipment giant said Monday.

The company's nomination committee now faces the prospect of finding a suitable replacement. It will propose a new board chair at Ericsson's annual general meeting next year or in 2012, depending on when Treschow decides to step down.

(Also see: Ericsson posts 360% increase in Q3 profits; shares soar)

Treschow was appointed chairman in March 2002. In a statement accompanying the announcement, he said, "Ericsson and the industry are now in the initial phase of rolling out mobile broadband. Today, less than 400 million people have mobile broadband and in 2015, Ericsson expects more than 3.4 billion people to have mobile broadband. It is an exciting future ahead of Ericsson, but taking into account its strong market and financial position, it is now the right time to hand over to a successor after nine years in this position."

Speaking of mobile broadband, Ericsson also announced Monday that it has won a five-year contract to supply network equipment and services to Sprint Nextel's Network Vision Program, expected to launch in 2011.

Ericsson will build a network infrastructure primarily for Sprint markets in the central and south east regions of the U.S., including Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Kansas City and Dallas.

The largest manufacturer of mobile network equipment in the world, the company in late October announced third-quarter profits of $542 million on strong North American sales.

Ericsson shares (NASDAQ: ERIC) closed Monday at 10.75, up 17 percent for the year.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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