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Ericsson Restructuring Hits U.S.

Research Triangle Park, N.C. -- Ericsson is close to finalizing a worldwide restructuring of its handset operations and has already shuffled key personnel in the United States and abroad "to create more accountability for product time-to-market," a spokeswoman confirmed.

The restructuring will also more closely align sales of handsets and infrastructure to carriers, said Ericsson's president/CEO Per-Arne Sandstrom in an e-mail to employees. The consumer products group now joins the infrastructure group in organizing sales operations by digital technology standard.

One of the company's key tasks, Sandstrom added, will be to "aggressively grow Ericsson's North America consumer sales through indirect channels."

The restructuring will be completed by Aug. 23, when 1,882 employees based here will assemble to hear the details.

Ericsson has suffered declining handset market share for several years, and for the six months ended June 30, its handset operation reported a 40 percent rise in worldwide sales but an operating loss.

Under the restructuring, Ericsson's consumer products group is creating a worldwide business unit for TDMA and CDMA handsets in Research Triangle Park and a separate Sweden-based business unit for GSM handsets. Each worldwide unit will be responsible for component acquisition, manufacturing, R&D, sales and marketing for its digital handsets, the spokeswoman said.

The two business units will replace five regional business units, each responsible for the sales and marketing within their regions of handsets based on all three technologies. The North American business unit was based here.

Ericsson has tapped Ulf Mansson, a 13-year company veteran, as the executive VP/general manager of the worldwide TDMA/CDMA business unit. Dave Korb, formerly North America regional sales VP, has been named sales VP at the worldwide TDMA/CDMA unit. And Harri Koponen, Ericsson's global account executive for carriers Vodaphone AirTouch and Mannesmann, has been tapped to head up North American sales.

Hakan Wretsell, executive VP/general manager of the North American region for two years, is leaving the company.

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