GE Taps Maersk CFO to Head Finance

Carolina Dybeck Happe leaves Maersk after less than a year to take the most prestigious job in corporate finance.
Vincent RyanNovember 25, 2019

Carolina Dybeck Happe

After a four-month search, General Electric named Carolina Dybeck Happe, CFO of Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, to perhaps the top finance chief role in the United States.

Dybeck Happe leaves Maersk after less than a year on the job. She will lead GE’s global finance organization and financial activities including accounting and controllership, financial planning and analysis, tax, investor relations, internal audit, and treasury.

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She will also lead GE’s digital technology and global operations functions and will be based in Boston. Her appointment as senior vice president and CFO of GE will be effective in early 2020.

GE CEO Lawrence Culp Jr. called Dybeck Happe “a proven global CFO” and “a high-impact executive who brings a compelling blend of strategic and capital allocation discipline, well-honed operating skills, and transformational leadership abilities. She will be a strong partner as we execute our deleveraging plan and improve our operating results to position GE for sustainable, long-term value creation.”

Dybeck Happe earned a master of science in business and economics from Uppsala University in Sweden. She spent 16 years at Assa Abloy, a Swedish conglomerate, including seven as CFO. Culp Jr. noted that over her tenure as CFO she helped the company deliver total shareholder return of more than 160% and double-digit sales growth, profit growth, and return on invested capital.

At Maersk, Dybeck Happe “was instrumental in driving strategic and structural change amidst significant market disruption, including executing a substantial deleveraging plan and reshaping the company’s portfolio to deliver more profitable growth,” GE said.

Dybeck Happe also serves on the boards of E.ON and Schneider Electric.

“I’ve admired GE’s team, technology, and global network and brand, and I am excited to join at a time of significant opportunity for the company and its stakeholders,” Dybeck Happe said.

At GE, Dybeck Happe replaces Jamie Miller, who’s leaving was announced in July. At the time, Culp Jr. told The Wall Street Journal that he “made the call” that it was time for the CFO change, and he planned on speaking with “new friends and old” in considering candidates for the job.

When she takes the finance helm in 2020, Dybeck Happe will be GE’s third different finance chief in four years.

Jeff Bornstein resigned as CFO in October 2017, after having served four years in the position and 28 years  at the company.

Dybeck Happe’s resignation from Maersk is the second high-level departure in a little more than two weeks. Maersk COO Søren Toft left the company and was named CEO of a competitor, MSC, on November 18.

On November 15, Maersk’s earnings report said that global container trade softened to around 1.5% in the quarter from around 2.0% in the second quarter, reflecting a broad-based weakening of the economic environment in all the main economies and negative effects from escalating trade restrictions.

Globally, implemented trade restrictions have likely reduced container trade by 0.5%-1.0% in 2019, Maersk said. In 2020, the negative impact on container volumes from tariffs is expected to be around 1%.