Networks, IT Guru Svärdh No Longer at Telia

The executive responsible for much of Telia's digital transformation, as well as investment in next-generation technologies, is understood to have left the Swedish operator in November.

Iain Morris, International Editor

February 10, 2017

3 Min Read
Networks, IT Guru Svärdh No Longer at Telia

Telia Company's Mats Svärdh has quit his role as vice president of networks and IT infrastructure for the Swedish operator, Light Reading has learned.

The circumstances of his departure are currently unclear but he is understood to have left Telia Company in November.

Telia has not issued any official statement about Svärdh, whose LinkedIn page still indicates that he works for the telco. A Telia spokesperson told Light Reading there have recently been some "changes" to the unit for which Svärdh had responsibility, but has yet to provide further details about the overhaul or Svärdh's current whereabouts.

As a key executive in the networks and IT area, Svärdh bore much of the responsibility for digital transformation at Telia, as well as the telco's strategy regarding 5G, virtualization and other next-generation technologies. (See NFV Key to 5G Business Case, Says TeliaSonera.)

He was last quoted in an official context in October, when Telia flagged field tests of 5G technology in Stockholm.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Svärdh joined Telia as its vice president of networks and IT infrastructure back in March 2014.

Prior to that, he spent four and a half years working as the global director of terminal products and technology for Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and before that was chief technology officer of Vodafone Ireland.

But his senior management career appears to have begun at Telia (then TeliaSonera), where he was employed in the mid-1990s as a network director for the "eastern region."

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His departure and the changes occurring on the networks and IT side may be connected to broader restructuring at Telia, which announced plans for a "revised organizational setup" in December last year, although Telia has yet to answer questions about this.

Those organizational changes appear to be aimed mainly at improving transparency and increasing Telia's focus on its Nordic and Baltic markets.

Telia announced dramatic plans in late 2015 to quit markets in Eurasia, where it has been caught up in allegations of corruption and struggling amid tough economic conditions. (See TeliaSonera to Quit Eurasia, Focus on Europe.)

Currently, the most senior executives with a group technology focus are Anders Olsson, the senior vice president (SVP) of global services and operations, and Peter Borsos, SVP of communications and Division X. Both are named as members of Telia's 12-person group executive management.

The global services and operations division comprises the former group commercial and group technology units, which Telia combined in January last year. Svärdh is not the only senior executive to have recently quit this part of the company, with chief commercial officer Søren Abildgaard leaving in January to become CEO of T-Mobile Netherlands . (See Eurobites: Subsea Boost for Ireland.)

The Division X unit that Borsos leads was set up in late 2016. It looks after Telia's investments in technology startups, such as the Springworks AB Internet of Things specialist, but also appears to have some responsibility for next-generation technology strategy. (See Telia Wants Driving Seat in Connected Car Biz.)

"Division X continued to spearhead the creation of a new-generation telco -- exploring, building and commercializing emerging business areas such as IoT, e-health and data analytics," said Johan Dennelind, Telia's CEO, in December statements accompanying the operator's fourth-quarter results.

For the October-to-December period, Telia reported a 6.7% drop in net sales, to 21.1 billion Swedish krona ($2.4 billion), compared with the year-earlier period. Operating income, excluding one-offs, fell by 24.3% over the same period, to SEK3.7 billion ($410 million).

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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