SAS CEO Gustafson to leave for bearings maker SKF

STOCKHOLM, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Rickard Gustafson will step down from his position as chief executive of the Scandinavian airline group SAS in the first half of the year to take the helm at the Swedish bearings maker SKF, the companies said on Monday.

Gustafson will replace Alrik Danielson, who is stepping down this year after six years as chief executive.

Gustafson has been CEO at SAS for a decade and also sits on the board of Foundation Asset Management (FAM), SKF’s largest owner.

He leaves SAS with the airline industry in crisis due the pandemic. SAS completed a capital increase in late 2020, a year of deep losses.

SKF generates about 70% of group sales in its far more profitable industrial business, while 30% stems from the automotive sector.

Under Danielson’s leadership, it has been revamping its vast factory network, raised spending on automation, pushed performance-based revenue models and cut costs.

SKF, whose rivals include Germany’s Schaeffler, consistently beat analysts’ forecasts throughout 2020, and in November raised its long-term profitability target. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Johan Ahlander; Editing by Kevin Liffey)