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Electrolux Names New CEO As U.S. Numbers Weaken

Electrolux has tapped Hans Straberg to succeed president/CEO Michael Treschow, who is leaving the company in March to become chairman of mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson.

Straberg, who joined Electrolux in 1983, currently heads the company’s floorcare and light appliances division. He also serves as a member of the manufacturer’s group management team.

Straberg moved into his first senior position with Electrolux in 1987, with global responsibility for dishwashers and laundry products. He became general manager of floorcare operations in 1992, and by 1995 relocated to the United States where he headed production and development for Frigidaire. He assumed his current post in 1998.

Straberg will assume the president/ CEO slot at the company’s annual meeting in April. Treschow will attain Ericsson’s chairmanship at that company’s annual meeting in March.

News of the changing of the guard came as Electrolux announced weakened third-quarter results. Lower unit volume and substantial non-recurring costs related to the phase-in of a new generation of refrigerators reduced U.S. operating income at the company’s core major appliance segment in both the third quarter and nine months, compared with the same periods last year.

Operating income for North American consumer durables at Electrolux, which includes majaps as well as other products, was $17.9 million in the third quarter. This compares to $77.2 million in operating income during the same quarter in 2000. Operating income in North American consumer durables for the nine months dropped from $279.2 million in 2000 to $159.7 million this year.

North American group sales of white goods at Electrolux decreased from last year, mainly as a result of lower deliveries of refrigerators. Group sales also were negatively impacted by retail de-stocking, particularly during the first half of the year.

The total effect of problems within the U.S. refrigerator division, such as delivery failures and higher costs for additional personnel and overtime, involved a decline of about $90 million in income in the first nine months, of which about $30 million refers to the third quarter.

Overall sales of consumer durables, which vary from purely majaps numbers because additional products are included in the total, reached $1.06 billion in North America in the third quarter. This is up from the $966.7 million recorded in the same three months in 2000. The company does not break out majaps from its consumer durables numbers.

For the nine months, sales of consumer durables were relatively flat, coming in at $3.57 billion in North America, compared with $3.56 billion in the year-ago period.