Martin Lundstedt.  Photo: Sven-Erik Lindstrand

Martin Lundstedt.  Photo: Sven-Erik Lindstrand

AB Volvo’s board of directors has named a Scania executive, Martin Lundstedt, as the president and chief executive officer of the Volvo Group, replacing Olof Persson, who has led the group for almost four years but is out immediately.  

Lundstedt, 47, will take over Volvo Group in October. Its chief financial officer, Jan Gurander, will be acting president and CEO, effective April 22. Volvo Group is the corporate parent of Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks in North America, and has extensive commercial vehicle operations in Europe, Asia, South America and elsewhere.  

“After three years of focus on product renewal, internal efficiency and restructuring, the Volvo Group is gradually entering a new phase with an intensified focus on growth and increased profitability,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman of AB Volvo, in a statement. “This will be achieved by further building on our leading brands, strong assets and engaged and skilled employees all over the world.

“Lundstedt has 25 years of experience in development, production and sales within the commercial vehicle industry," Svanberg added. "He is also known for his winning leadership style.”

Persson was the keynote speaker at the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association breakfast during the Mid-America Trucking Show in March. Even then, there were rumors that Persson was on his way out. Late that month, Reuters quoted Svanberg as stating that the company “was not looking for a new president and CEO.” That evidently changed. Yet he sent Persson off with kind words.

“Olof Persson has with energy and determination carried out an extensive change of the Volvo Group," said Svanberg. "He has focused Volvo on commercial vehicles and sold unrelated businesses and assets to a value of over SEK 20 billion (US $2.29 billion). He introduced a functional organization and paved the way for cost savings of SEK 10 billion (US $1.15 billion).

“He also concluded the agreement with one of China's largest truck manufacturers, Dongfeng, and led the company during the largest product renewal in the Group's history,” Svanberg noted. “Today the Volvo Group is considerably better positioned to compete for leadership in our industry.”

Lundstedt has spent his career at Scania, Volvo’s traditional rival in Scandanavia and now part of MAN and Volkswagen. He joined Scania in 1992 as a trainee after obtaining a master of science degree in industrial management and technology. He has held executive positions in Sweden, Brazil and France.