Volvo proposes BP chairman Svanberg to take over board

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Volvo proposed on Monday that BP's criticised chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg be appointed head of its board at the truck maker's annual general meeting in April, the Swedish company said.

"The election committee of AB Volvo proposes the election of Carl-Henric Svanberg as new chairman of the board at the annual general meeting on April 4, 2012," the world's second-largest truck maker said in a statement.

Svanberg is expected to stay on at BP.

"He has the ability and the capacity to manage both jobs," Volvo's election committee chairman Carl-Olof By told Swedish news agency TT at a press conference in Gothenburg where Volvo made the announcement.

As head of the Volvo board, Svanberg will replace Louis Schweitzer of France who has declined re-election.

Svanberg is one of Sweden's top business executives, and has formerly served as the chief executive of telecom networks giant Ericsson and locks and security company Assa Abloy.

He has however been heavily criticised in his position at BP.

He had been chairman of the British energy giant for only a few months when a massive explosion on April 20, 2010 rocked the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP.

He was lambasted for his low profile in the crucial weeks after the spill -- Britain's Independent newspaper called him "the invisible man" while a Swedish daily referred to his "ostrich tactics."

Criticism also raged after a meeting with US President Barack Obama on the White House lawn when the Swede said BP "cared about the small people."

Svanberg's move to Volvo completes a top-level switcheroo in Swedish business circles: Volvo's former chief executive Leif Johansson was recently appointed chairman of Ericsson.

The two men have long been considered Sweden's most successful business leaders.

© 2011 AFP

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