Electrolux Loses CFO After GE Deal Falls Apart

Tomas Eliasson is the second top executive to announce his departure from Electrolux since GE decided not to sell its appliance unit to the Swedish...
Matthew HellerJanuary 22, 2016

Tomas Eliasson is resigning as CFO of Electrolux, the second loss of a top executive at the Swedish company since it failed to acquire General Electric’s appliance unit.

The $3.3 billion deal would have been Electrolux’s largest acquisition to date, but GE pulled out because of opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators, leaving Electrolux on the hook for a $175 million breakup fee.

Electrolux on Friday said Eliasson, who was appointed CFO in 2012, was resigning to join Swedish firm Sandvik AB, a move that comes two weeks after CEO Keith McLoughlin announced his retirement.

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“It’s negative for Electrolux,” Karri Rinta, an analyst at Handelsbanken in Stockholm, told Bloomberg. “He was, according to me and probably according to most people, a very competent CFO.”

Bloomberg said Eliasson’s departure will “deprive Electrolux of management continuity just as it’s about to face renewed competition in the U.S. from Haier Group,” the Chinese company that agreed to buy GE Appliances last week for $5.4 billion.

Instead of rivaling Whirlpool’s dominance by acquiring GE Appliances, Electrolux “looks likely to end up with a new competitor that could pursue growth more aggressively than GE has.”

Electrolux shares slumped 1.2% in trading Friday, even as the broader stock market rallied. The stock has now lost 24% of its value since Dec. 7, when GE walked away from its deal with Electrolux.

Eliasson will remain with Electrolux for up to six months, the company said. A process to recruit a successor is already underway.

According to Bloomberg, Eliasson’s new job “is unlikely to offer him any respite from industry challenges.” He will be the company’s fifth CFO since 2009. The maker of cutting tools and mining equipment has been plagued by weak end markets and share underperformance.

As CFO of Assa Abloy AB, Eliassson worked for Johan Molin, who took over as chairman of Sandvik in May.