ABB Names New CEONovember 15, 2000 by Jeff Shepard
The board of directors of ABB Automation Inc. (Switzerland) has named Jörgen Centerman, 48, the successor of Göran Lindahl as President and CEO of the company. Centerman, presently head of ABB's automation segment, will succeed to this position effective January 1, 2001. He takes over as ABB prepares for the next phase in its transformation, driven by the far-reaching IT revolution affecting the global technology group and its customers.
Lindahl said that after 30 years in ABB, 15 years in corporate management and four years as CEO, he felt it was the right time to hand over to a younger leader with a true IT profile. “The first steps in transforming ABB have been taken. Our organization has responded well, and there is now a strong bottom-up drive for even faster change," Lindahl said. “This is promising, as the environment we act in is also changing faster and faster. I now feel it is the right time to hand over in order to safeguard a continued good development."Percy Barnevik, Chairman of the ABB Board, said Centerman has the right background to continue ABB's push for IT-related innovation and the company's expansion into knowledge-based and service-oriented activities. “Centerman has an excellent track record and broad international experience, and he has been deeply involved in the strategic shift of ABB into an Industrial IT leader. Now, he can drive the transformation not only of his own segment but the whole ABB Group," Barnevik said. “The Board is happy that we, in line with ABB's tradition, can promote an internal successor. This guarantees a smooth transition."
In the past 15 years, Centerman has worked in five countries – Singapore, Sweden, Germany, the US and Switzerland – on three continents. He has a Master of Science degree in electrotechnical engineering from the University of Technology of Lund, Sweden. He joined ABB in 1976.
Lindahl will remain a member of the ABB Board and support the new management with his vast international network. Barnevik said: “When Lindahl now hands over to Centerman, he can look back on a very successful career at ABB. As the CEO in the last four years he has led the company in a new strategic direction, with a changed portfolio and major investments into the new IT economy. This has opened new opportunities for employees and better ways to serve our customers. The shareholders have benefited substantially and now own a company with lower liabilities and risk compared to only a few years ago."
The change of CEO does not affect ABB's present strategy or its forecasts, the company said.