Thursday 26 April 2018

Shareholders ratchet up Swedish ceo headcount

Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf

Niklas Magnusson and Niclas Rolander

Corporate Sweden is replacing chief executive officers at the fastest pace in at least a decade, underscoring the fate directors face if they fail to satisfy increasingly hard-to-meet shareholder demands.

Of Sweden's 50 biggest companies, seven have parted with their chief executives so far this year. That follows 12 last year, the highest number since at least 2007, according to Bloomberg. By comparison, about four top executives were replaced, on average, each year between 2007 to 2014.

"There's been a trend for a number of years that the burn time of ceos has become shorter," Lars Milberg, chair of the Swedish Shareholders' Association's corporate oversight board, said. "There may be less patience, and financial players are expecting quicker returns."

This year's wave of firings has been notable for the harsh, and often personal, tone of the statements announcing the news.

There's been little effort made to suggest executives had expressed a desire to spend more time with their families.

When Svenska Handelsbanken unexpectedly sacked Frank Vang-Jensen last week, chairman Paer Boman said the job had simply been "too hard" and "too big" for the 48-year-old.

At Swedbank, Michael Wolf lost his job after the chairman said he was suspected of insider trading. Mr Wolf was subsequently cleared, and the chairman has since lost his job. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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