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Volvo may nab Saab boss as new CEO, report says

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Volvo may nab Saab boss as new CEO, report says

June 2, 2010 09:16 CET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Jan Ake Jonsson, chief executive officer of Saab Automobile, is one of the main candidates for the top job at Volvo Cars, a Swedish daily reported on Wednesday, quoting sources.

Business daily Dagens Industri said Jonsson is among a "handful" of key candidates for the position at the Gothenburg-based automaker, and that contact with the Saab executive had already been made.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China's largest private carmaker and parent of Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile, clinched a deal with Ford in March to buy Volvo Cars in China's biggest overseas auto purchase.

The goal is to present a new chief executive in connection with the final signing of the deal in August, the paper reported. Volvo Cars' current CEO, Stephen Odell, plans to leave to head Ford Europe, the paper said.

Saab was acquired from General Motors Co. by Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars.

Jonsson declined to comment when asked by ,I>Dagens Industri about the position. "I have promised (Spyker CEO) Victor Muller to stay at Saab for a while longer," he was quoted as saying.

Volvo Cars spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said he had no comment, adding: "This is up to Geely." Saab was not immediately available.

Volvo, which last made a full-year profit in 2005 despite record sales in 2007, has bled cash in recent years and cut thousands of jobs in its quest to regain profitability.

Zhejiang Geely President Yang Jiang has said Geely, which plans to build a Volvo plant in China, will not accept losing money from Volvo "even for a year."

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100602/ANE/306029982/1257#ixzz0phv2TV3z

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By Drew Johnson

A shakeup could be in store for the Swedish auto industry as Volvo is said to be pursuing Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson for the company’s top position. Jonsson is rumored to be one of a “handful” of candidates for the Volvo CEO position.

According to the Dagens Industri, Volvo has already contacted Jonsson about chief executive position. Jonsson declined to comment on the report, saying only, “I have promised (Spyker CEO) Victor Muller to stay at Saab for a while longer.”

Volvo, now under control of China’s Geely Automobile, is looking to secure a new CEO by August. Geely will sign the final paperwork for Volvo in August, at which time current Volvo CEO Stephen Odell will step down. Odell will leave Volvo to take over as head of Ford’s European operations.

Regardless of who lands the Volvo CEO position, there will be a hard road to hoe. The Swedish automaker hasn’t logged a full-year profit since 2005 and Geely has already stated it won’t put up with Volvo losing money, “even for a year.”



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