Blog: Dave LeggettVolvo's search for a CEO

Dave Leggett | 25 June 2010

It is not official yet but it's a racing certainty that Stefan Jacoby will be moving from Volkswagen in the US to take up the challenging role of CEO of Volvo Cars when it changes hands from Ford to Geely.

Stephen Odell has apparently preferred to stay with Ford; that's not too surprising – he appears to be a Ford career man with some thirty years of experience amassed in a variety of posts withing the Blue Oval empire. It will be interesting to see what his next post is within Ford, but I'd guess they have had something lined up for him for a while.

It's certainly a big step up for Jacoby, but what a job. Not only will he be CEO of Volvo Cars but he will be doing that job as the company comes under the ownership of a Chinese parent. Not only does he have to ensure that the company does all the right things that any car company has to do to survive, but he also has to manage things to the satisfaction of both the Chinese owners and the Swedes, some of whom will be naturally suspicious of the new owner's motives.

There are bound to be some areas for potential disagreement and the internal cultural side of things might present a bigger challenge than the nuts and bolts of running a car company. The 'getting to know you' phase and building confidence on all sides over the next six months will be especially critical. 

But if he can crack that so that in three years' time all parties are happy with the way Volvo Cars is being run, trust not an issue in either Gothenburg or Hangzhou, he'll have been a wise choice. Would Geely like to have found a suitable Swede to take the helm at Volvo? Maybe, but they don't grow on trees and Jan Ake Jonsson at Saab said no.  

SWEDEN: Jacoby moves from VW to Volvo Cars; Odell back to Ford


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