BP plc has chosen a new chairman whose expertise is in technology -- as opposed to someone schooled in oil and natural gas -- to take the helm when Peter Sutherland steps down at the end of this year. Carl-Henric Svanberg, now chairman and CEO of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson, will join the BP board as chairman-designate and become a nonexecutive director on Sept. 1. He officially will step down at year-end from Ericsson and succeed Sutherland as chairman of BP on Jan. 1. Based in London, Svanberg, 57, is expected to devote most of his time to BP business. "Following such a distinguished predecessor is quite a challenge but I'm hugely excited about joining the energy industry, which is so much at the heart of the global economy. I look forward to it with relish," Svanberg said. Sutherland, 63, has been chairman of BP since 1997. He was scheduled to step down in April, but earlier this year he agreed to remain in his post because of the difficult market conditions that had delayed the search for a replacement. BP CEO Tony Hayward said Sutherland "will be a hard act to follow. But I am sure Carl-Henric will be a worthy successor. He is a businessman of international stature who is recognized for his transformation of Ericsson. Our shared views on many aspects of global business give me great confidence that we will work very effectively together on the next phase of BP's progress."
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