Rickard Gustafson will step down from his position as chief executive of Scandinavian airline group SAS in the first half of the year to take the helm of Swedish bearings maker SKF, the companies have said.
Gustafson will replace Alrik Danielson, who will be stepping down this year after six years as SKF chief executive.
Gustafson has been the CEO of SAS for a decade and also sits on the board of SKF's largest owner, Foundation Asset Management (FAM).
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He is leaving SAS with the airline industry in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SAS completed a capital increase in late 2020, which was a year of deep losses.
SAS chairman Carsten Dilling said in a statement that he is "both disappointed and sorry" that Gustafson is leaving, but applauded Gustafson's performance at SAS.
"SAS is still in a critical - but stable position - and the board has of course immediately started the process to appoint a new president and CEO of SAS", Dilling said.
Sydbank repeated its sell recommendation for SAS this week, saying that Gustafson's departure will leave a void at the airline at a critical time.
SKF generates approximately 70% of group sales in its far more profitable industrial business, while 30% stems from the automotive sector.
Under Danielson's leadership, it has been revamping its vast factory network, raised spending on automation, pushed performance-based revenue models and cut costs.
Consistently Beat Analysts' Forecast Throughout 2020
SKF, the rivals of which include Germany's Schaeffler, consistently beat analysts' forecasts throughout 2020, and raised its long-term profitability target in November.