* CEO Danielson has been at the helm since 2015
* SKF has beaten forecasts this year
* Announced long-term earnings targets two weeks ago (Adds detail, analyst, background)
STOCKHOLM, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The top executive of Sweden’s SKF will step down in 2021 after six years at the helm, the bearings maker said after the close of market trading on Monday.
SKF has beaten earnings forecasts throughout 2020 and two weeks ago it raised its long-term margin target and laid out its strategy for the coming years at a capital markets day.
Alrik Danielson, 58, has led the world’s biggest maker of industrial bearings since 2015, beginning an overhaul of its factory network, raising spending on automation and pushing performance-based revenue models and cost cuts.
“The board, together with Alrik Danielson, has made the assessment that now is the right time to identify a new president and CEO who can continue to execute SKF’s strategy,” Chairman Hans Straberg said in a statement.
“He has implemented major and important changes that have positioned SKF very well for the future,” Straberg added.
Analysts at JP Morgan said in a research note they considered the news of Danielson stepping down a setback for SKF shares.
“In our view, this news is a major surprise coming less than two weeks after outlining new long-term financial targets at the CMD, with the stock close to five-year highs and Mr. Danielson’s own reputation with investors as high as at any time in his tenure.”
SKF said it had started a recruitment process, adding Danielson would continue in the job until a successor was in place.
SKF’s shares have risen by 28% under Danielson’s tenure, underperforming the broader European industrials sector but outperforming rivals such as Germany’s Schaeffler . (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Barbara Lewis and Jason Neely)
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