Just a week before he was set to return to Volvo's helm after suffering a mild stroke, Stefan Jacoby has been stripped of position as CEO and replaced with a board of directors member.
Now-former CEO Stefan Jacoby joined Volvo in 2010 after leading Volkswagen's regional office in the United States. He has been replaced by former MAN trucks chief Hakan Samuelsson, who has been a Volvo board of directors member since Chinese firm Geely acquired the Swedish automaker from Ford in 2010.
"I see major opportunities for Volvo Cars to improve profitability, and accelerate our growth plan in China specifically. I am convinced that Hakan Samuelsson's thorough experience and leadership will help us increase performance," said Li Shufu, majority shareholder and Chairman of the Board, in a statement released to the media.
Li orchestrated Geely's purchase of Volvo from Ford.
"My focus will be on execution and performance, to secure profitability and meet our sales objectives," Samuelsson said in a statement.
"No other business is as demanding, complex and full of challenges as the automotive industry.
Jacoby suffered a mild stroke less than a month ago, but reports out of Sweden indicate that his ouster is not related to his health condition. Instead, Volvo's board was reportedly disappointed with Jacoby's efforts at propelling the brand into the fast-growing Chinese market. Despite the company's Chinese ownership, it has been slow to build momentum in what is now the world's largest new car market.
Samuelsson will be charged with returning Volvo to sustainable profitability by focusing on international expansion. Between a weak European economy, a limited lineup in North America and continued difficulties penetrating the Chinese market, Volvo has found it difficult to go alone.
Volvo lost about $38 million during the first half of 2012. Last year, when the European new car market was stronger, it banked around $183 million during the same period.
Europe and North America remain Volvo's primary sales markets, but Samuelsson said in a press conference today in Sweden that "we have to put the China growth plan back on track."