Volvo CEO and president Hakan Samuelsson will step down from his role in March after nearly a decade. The Swedish manufacturer has named ex-Dyson Group CEO Jim Rowan as his successor. Samuelsson has been president and CEO of Volvo Cars since October 2012, having previously served on the company board for two years, and as chairman and CEO of the now defunct commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN SE, before that.
- Rowan headed Dyson when the brand was developing an EV
- Samuelsson to retain position as chairperson of Polestar
Samuelsson's contract comes to an end this year, and Volvo said his successor has been selected after "a thorough and diligent search process to secure the continued strong leadership of Volvo Cars with a CEO who has a strong background in software, digital transformation and innovative consumer products.”
When Rowan takes over on March 21, Samuelsson will leave Volvo's board of management, but continue to serve as chairperson of EV performance brand Polestar, as it prepares to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange later this year. He has yet to comment on any plans beyond that.
"I'm pleased to welcome Jim to his new role to continue the great journey Volvo Cars is on,” Samuelsson said. "I would also like to extend my thanks to all Volvo Cars employees for the incredible progress we have made together in the past 10 years – for not only making Volvo one of the fastest growing and most trusted premium automotive brands but [also] for always innovating and leading with purpose. I wish you all the best for the exciting years to come."
"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Hakan Samuelsson for his commitment and determination over the past ten years at Volvo Cars,” said Li Shufu, Volvo chairman and founder of parent company Geely Holding Group. "Hakan has, together with his management team, created a renewed and strong product line, re-established Volvo as a premium brand that is well placed for the future and enabled the successful listing of Volvo Cars."
Rowan is currently boss of Ember Technologies, a manufacturer of heat-controlling kitchenware. Prior to that, he was CEO of technology giant Dyson for three years, specifically during the period in which the company was developing a bespoke electric car – which ultimately never made its way to the market after it was deemed to be not commercially viable. Before starting at Dyson in 2012, he was chief operating officer of Blackberry.
He arrives at Volvo as the Swedish company prepares to launch the landmark all-electric successor to its largest model this year – the XC90 – following the recent arrival of the all-electric XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge compact SUVs.
It has also entered a joint venture with technology start-up Northvolt to produce its own EV batteries in Sweden, and has pledged to dramatically ramp up sustainability efforts across its manufacturing and supply chain operations.
"I'm delighted to join Volvo Cars at such an exciting time for the company and at such a transformational time for both the industry and consumers," Rowan said. "The strong track record of Volvo Cars across innovation, safety and quality, coupled with world-class talent and inspiring sustainability and technology capabilities, places it in the driver's seat for the road ahead."
Volvo cars for India
In recent months, Volvo has pushed for the electrification of its model line-up with the launch of mild-hybrid versions of the XC60, S90 and XC90 in India. The carmaker is also set to enter the EV market with the launch of the all-electric XC40 Recharge in the coming months. The Recharge will be Volvo's first EV for the Indian market with the carmaker planning to launch one new EV every year.