Brunell steps down as CEO of Swedish investor Kinnevik

Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:48am EST

* Kinnevik shares almost tripled during tenure

* Stock extends slide on concern about fashion firm

* Investment firm shifts focus to technology, e-commerce

* Brunell to stay on as director of key Kinnevik firms

STOCKHOLM, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Mia Brunell Livfors is stepping down as chief executive of Swedish investment firm Kinnevik to seek a new challenge after eight years helping to transform the company into a leading investor in technology and e-commerce.

Brunell, who joined Kinnevik in 1992 and was CEO since August 2006, will stay in her role until a successor is appointed and will continue to be involved even after that, staying as a director of four companies the group invests in.

Founded in 1936, Kinnevik grew to become one of the largest listed investment companies in Europe with a market capitalisation of 73.9 billion Swedish crowns ($11.4 billion) and is controlled by Sweden's wealthy Stenbeck family.

Under current chairman Cristina Stenbeck and her father Jan Stenbeck, Kinnevik has shifted focus towards e-commerce, telecommunications and media and away from investments in traditional Swedish industries such as paper and steel.

"Mia ... has been instrumental in the development of Kinnevik over the last eight years. She has laid the foundations for Kinnevik's next phase of transformation," Cristina Stenbeck said in a statement.

Shares in Kinnevik, which had almost tripled since Brunell took over in 2006, were down 2 percent on the news.

That extends a sharp fall in the stock that started last week following reports that suggested growth was slowing at Europe's biggest online fashion retailer Zalando, in which Kinnevik holds a large stake.

Berlin-based Zalando, which competes with Britain's ASOS and is viewed as a prime candidate for a listing this year, changed its structure last month and appointed Brunell as chair of a new six-person supervisory board.

Brunell, 48, will remain a director of telecoms firms Tele2 , Millicom, online retail specialist CDON Group and media firm Modern Times Group, where she served as finance chief from 2001 to 2006.

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