Ericsson Appoints New CTO

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has named its current head of Product Area Radio, Ulf Ewaldsson, as its new CTO, effective Feb. 1. He replaces Håkan Eriksson, who stepped down in December. (See Euronews: Ericsson's CTO Steps Down.)

Ewaldsson, a 20-year Ericsson veteran who has been "instrumental" in the development of key mobile networking products such as the RBS 6000 base station and the Antenna Integrated Radio (AIR) unit, will be CTO, head of Group Function Technology & Portfolio Management. (See Ericsson's Small Cells Come Up for AIR, Ericsson: Coming Up for AIR in 2012 and Ericsson Intros Base Station.)

Ewaldsson will be based in Stockholm and not taking on the additional role of head of Ericsson Silicon Valley, a position that San Jose, Ca.-based Eriksson held. (See Bigger IP Role for Ericsson .)

That decision triggered a somewhat defensive statement from Ericsson. In its official announcement about Ewaldsson's appointment, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg was keen to stress the company's ongoing "strong commitment to our operations in Silicon Valley. Our operation in San Jose remains the center of our IP business … We will continue to drive the convergence of fixed, mobile and Internet from Silicon Valley and focus on strengthening partnerships in the areas of both hardware and software, Internet applications as well as in the PC industry."

That IP business, built around the Redback portfolio acquired in 2007, has been developed to support the vendor's next-generation networks proposition, which is particularly (but not exclusively) targeted at mobile operators deploying packet-based core networks as part of their migration to an all-IP infrastructure. (See Ericsson Debuts New Service Routers, Core Network Challenges LTE Vendors and Ericsson Offers $2.1B for Redback .)

Why this matters
Ericsson needed to fill the hole left when Eriksson stepped down, especially with key customer meetings coming up at Mobile World Congress 2012, and in Ewaldsson it has an experienced technologist who has been heavily involved in the latest mobile network technology developments. (See Analyst Acclaims New Ericsson CTO.)

But, of course, Ericsson is much more than just a mobile networks vendor these days and its portfolio strategy will need to take into account all the other key areas of in-house technology development, such as video, Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) and IP. To that end, Ewaldsson will need to develop some key internal relationships with other technology stakeholders within the company, including the top team in Silicon Valley.

So having reminded everyone of the importance of the Silicon Valley operation, CEO Vestberg now needs a new head of Ericsson Silicon Valley to work with Ewaldsson, create a clear and transparent line of responsibility and nip in the bud any suggestions that the IP business is being cut adrift from the mothership.

One candidate for the Silicon Valley job could be San Jose-based Jan Häglund, who was appointed head of Ericsson's IP and broadband business unit in mid-2011.

For more
Ericsson knows that just being a mobile networking leader is no longer enough these days:

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 5:45:03 PM
re: Ericsson Appoints New CTO

Yes, he seems like a good choice of CTO.

But in addition to needing to come up with the right approach to the San Jose location / team, this guy also has to manage and direct the efforts of the old Marconi team in the UK.  Marconi has extensive transport and switching platforms including a robust fiber optic set of platforms for DWDM up to 100gig.  And a great research group.  And Marconi has a lot of access gear and other gear for both Central Offices and access.

I hope this wireless guy can come to grips with the subtlely different issues in the terrestrial / wireline physical plant.

Would be nice to see Marconi growing.


^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 5:45:02 PM
re: Ericsson Appoints New CTO


Yeah, I hear you regards access in terms of DLC and PON.  Especially in NA.  I am thinking far more about the fiber optic transport / switching platforms for core: local, metro, regional, long haul.  That group actually has some nice gear and still has some relevant market share.  

for access, I guess I was thinking more for 3rd world countries that still need plain ole dial tone with some dsl maybe.  lot of legacy "phone company" gear still lurking around Marconi I would guess.  

New CTO will have to balance the marconi assets.  Does he keep and beef up the fiber transport portion?  Does he keep or kill off legacy phone company stuff? (cost of support, cost to manufacture, obsolete supply chain......but nice cash cow business).  does he decide to double down and do something real in access, or does Marconi finall abandon all plays in access and become a pure play transport vendor?

Some of these issues are pretty different than what he has faced in wireless.  Wireless has been expanding globally.  It is different managing an expanding business than a contracting one.

Can he leverage the nice asset he has in the fiber optic stuff?   Espcecially can his team come up with some technology advances that will allow Marconi to gain share in the fiber business?  This is a CTO question.  

of course all decisions are not his alone, he is new CTO.  Not COO, not CEO, not customer management, not CFO.

I do hear you regards Access.  Marconi is pretty much out of it except for supporting a big base of older technology already deployed inside BT and a few other international carriers (I think Telstra has a lot of legacy Marconi gear for instance).


paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:45:02 PM
re: Ericsson Appoints New CTO


Marconi Access - really?  Their platform was not doing very well last I saw.  And remember AFC bought the NA portion of it back in 2004 (I know I helped negotiate that deal).  The Entresphere stuff which is what they have been pitching for PON has not gone far in the US but I think has done better Internationally.



paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:45:00 PM
re: Ericsson Appoints New CTO


Yes, I think the hardest thing out there is what I call (as you describe it) Portfolio Management.  Companies have all these things that they can invest in and emphasize or not.  This includes products, services, markets and other corporate choices.

The 3rd world has basically abandoned POTS as a growth business and cell is the way its going.  At AFC, we did a lot of 3rd world business to meet teledensity requirements for privatization.  But basically that has gone away in bulk (not 100% but you get the idea).  DSL is a requirement but one of the challenges in the 3rd world is people stealing copper.



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