By Anna Molin
STOCKHOLM--Investor AB (INVE-B.SK) on Wednesday said Borje Ekholm would step down as chief executive to head up a new division that will shepherd the investment company's wholly-owned subsidiaries.
The chief executive will be replaced by Johan Forsell, who has been in charge of the company's core investments since 2006 and is part of the management group, Investor said.
The switch will take effect from the company's annual general meeting in May when Mr. Ekholm, who has served as CEO for almost ten years, will also resign from the board.
Investor--the investment vehicle of Sweden's powerful Wallenberg-family--said it will set up a new division, Patricia Industries, with an initial funding commitment of 6 billion Swedish kroner ($726.9 million) and offices in Stockholm and New York.
The unit will run independently to develop existing wholly-owned subsidiaries and find new ones, Investor said. Its board and decision-making committee will include Marcus Wallenberg, Jacob Wallenberg and Mr. Forssell as well as external members with relevant experience.
Also Wednesday, Investor presented its year-end report and said it had bought additional shares in listed holdings Zurich-based power automation company ABB (>> ABB Ltd.) and Finnish shipping engine manufacturer Wartsila Oyj (>> Wartsila Oyj Abp) in the fourth quarter.
Mr. Ekholm in his executive comments critized Sweden's new center-left government, which late last year first called and then cancelled a snap election after a populist party derailed its budget plans.
"The new government has managed to create unsurpassed uncertainty that may hurt the future investment environment," Mr. Ekholm said. "The U.S. economy performs well despite Washington. We may not be as fortunate."
The company's closely-watched net asset value rose to SEK343 per share, an increase of SEK19 per share over the quarter.
Net profit at the Stockholm-based company fell 7.9% to 12.99 billion Swedish kroner ($1.57 billion) in the fourth quarter compared to the year earlier.
The board proposed a dividend of SEK9, up from SEK8 a year earlier.
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