Focused on finding chief, Ericsson may be looking outside industry

|By:, SA News Editor

Ericsson (ERIC -1.1%) may be looking outside of telecoms for its new CEO, a source tells Reuters, after the company looks past well-discussed, more obvious candidates.

That comment came in response to a newspaper column today raising the prospect that Saab chief Hakan Buskhe could be in the running. "I understand there is a person on the short list but that it is not so easy to get the person concerned," the source said.

CEO Hans Vestberg stepped down in July after key shareholders began pushing for an ouster.

The conventional-wisdom short list for a replacement points at the company's Australia-based Hakan Eriksson, former company CFO Karl-Henrik Sundstrom and Vodafone CTO Johan Wibergh (also a two-decade Ericsson veteran).

Meanwhile, the CEO search is the company's top priority, according to Ericsson's biggest shareholder. Johan Forssell, chief of Investor AB, says: “It needs to be a good leader, someone with strategic abilities, considering the large technology shifts that are happening in this industry ... It’s also an advantage to have the ability to understand the technology.”

Shares are down nearly 25% over the past week.