After posting its second consecutive dismal quarter, telecom infrastructure and handset manufacturer Ericsson AB announced today that Chairman Lars Ramqvist is stepping down.
Ramqvist will be replaced by the current CEO of Electrolux AB, Michael Treschow, who will take the position pending official approval by the board.
Ramqvist had been with the Stockholm company for more than 20 years.
On Thursday night the company announced that it had lost $377 million in the third quarter, a dramatic turnaround from the year-ago quarter when the company showed a profit of nearly $400 million.
The company blamed the loss on the faltering economy.
"Our profitability in mobile systems is of course impacted by the ecomonic slowdown," said CEO Kurt Hellstrom, in a conference with analysts and reporters. "But also here, we have held up well compared to our peers. We have kept a 1 percent operating margin in our total systems business, where we also count wireline systems."
Ericsson hopes to improve sales of mobile phones with the joint venture that the company launched with Sony Corp. on Oct. 1. At that time, the company expected to generate profit in the fourth quarter; this is no longer the case.
"Though we now expect it will generate a small loss for the fourth quarter due to the worsened market conditions, our objective is to be profitable for calendar year 2002," said Ericsson CFO Sten Fornell.
Officials also pointed out that Ericsson is the only company that supports all three major 3G standards -- WCDMA, CDMA 2000 and EDGE.
The company also stubbornly continues to tout the short-range wireless technology Bluetooth, which has had trouble taking off for several years. At Fall Comdex 2001 next month, the company will officially introduce the Ericsson Chatpen, which wirelessly transmits and stores handwritten text using digital paper created by Anoto AB.