Svanberg plans to keep BP chair as he takes on new role at Volvo

City A.M. Reporter
BP is over the worst phase of its problems after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (right) claimed yesterday, clearing the way for him to lead the board at world number two truck maker Volvo.

The Volvo nomination committee said in a statement it had backed Svanberg to head the board at Volvo. Svanberg has been chairman of BP since January 2010.

Svanberg, who had to apologise for referring to those hurt by the April 2010 oil spill as “small people”, said that his working week at BP was about two to three days.

“We are no longer in the acute crisis phase of the oil spill situation,” he said, adding that most of the work now was related to dealing with compensation issues.

But he said his ambition was to leave the board of mobile network gear maker Ericsson, where he is a director and where, from 2003 until 2009, he was president and chief executive.

“I think that he should be able to handle these two jobs [at BP and Volvo], but not anything else. One of the most important things is that the nomination committee has taken up the question of whether he can handle both positions,” said Helena Levander, head of Nordic Investor Services, which offers advice and analysis on corporate governance issues.

In a Swedish merry-go-round, Volvo’s former chief executive officer, Leif Olofsson, became chairman of Ericsson earlier in the year.