Tele2/Com Hem CEO decides to get a life

Anders Nilsson, CEO of Swedish telco group Tele2, has decided there’s more to life than hanging out in board rooms and bossing people about.

“It has been six very intense and fantastic years running Com Hem and Tele2,” said Nilsson. “I have however now come to the conclusion that it is time for me to take a break and focus on other things in life for a while. This was not an easy decision as there is no good time to leave a great company, but we have a highly capable and motivated team to make the next chapter of our strategy happen.”

He will be replaced by Kjell Morten Johnsen, who has been poached from his position as COO of Veon, before that having headed up Telenor Europe. The transition will take place on 15 September. Apparently Nilsson had been openly pining for a simpler life for a while and this announcement comes on the day they got Johnsen to sign on the dotted line.

“With the integration of Com Hem behind us and an ambitious transformation journey ahead, I am pleased that Kjell Morten Johnsen has agreed to join Tele2,” said Tele2 Chairman Carla Smits-Nusteling. “His vast experience as a leader in global telecommunications will be a great asset for Tele2, which will continue to thrive under his leadership.

“While the Board regrets to see Anders Nilsson leave the company, we respect his decision and would like to thank him for his great contribution to Tele2. Anders’ leadership and devotion made it possible for Tele2 to execute on an impressive transformation in a short time and deliver significant value to all its stakeholders.”

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead Tele2 going forward,” said Johnsen. “The company has a great history as a challenger and innovator in the telecommunications sector and has gone through an impressive transformation journey over the last few years. I see a bright future, and I look forward to being part of Tele2’s journey through both challenges and the great opportunities ahead.”

They’re a civilised bunch, the Swedes, aren’t they? Nilsson’s vow to explore other things life has to offer is especially pleasing in its benign philosophical sentiment. Many other cultures would resist the very suggestion that there may be more to life than unbridled ambition and the accumulation of wealth, but Tele2 seems genuinely happy for the bloke. We could all learn a bit from them.

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