June 3, 2019 / 8:31 AM / 2 months ago

Svahn appointed CEO at brake systems maker Haldex

STOCKHOLM, June 3 (Reuters) - Swedish brake systems firm Haldex said on Monday it had appointed Helene Svahn as its chief executive replacing Ake Bengtsson with immediate effect.

Bengtsson had been CEO at Haldex, the world’s third largest commercial vehicle brakes firm, since 2017, when the company was the target of a lengthy bidding war involving German firms ZF and Knorr-Bremse.

“The board would like to extend their appreciation to Ake for the work he has done, in particular with the tough task of steering the company through the turbulent bidding process of 2017,” Chairman Jorgen Durban said in a statement.

“However, as the company is now accelerating, both in regards to new technology and the current core business, there is a need for a new kind of leadership.”

Svahn, a Haldex board member and currently head of Research and Innovation at electric wheelchair maker Permobil as well as a professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, will start immediately and take on the role fully from August 12, Haldex said.

Deputy CEO Staffan Olsson will run the daily operations in the meantime.

The commercial vehicle industry is going through a major technology shift, where focus on self-driving vehicles and electrification puts new demands on suppliers. Haldex decided last year to increase its technology investments.

“When it comes to technical solutions we are well positioned and especially within electromechanical brakes,” Haldex said.

“However, we need to make our core business more efficient, in order for us to gain further credibility when it comes to our innovations.”

ZF and brake systems rival Knorr-Bremse remain the two largest shareholders in Haldex. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Jason Neely)

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