Feature Article

April 30, 2014

Ericsson Taps Qureshi to Drive M&A

Telecom equipment giant Ericsson today announced the appointment of Rima Qureshi as its chief strategy officer. In this post, she will lead the company’s mergers and acquisitions efforts, and will be chairman of business unit modems.

This is important because the company, which last week reported that first quarter revenues were down significantly, is likely looking for pathways to new growth.

A long-time Ericsson employee, Qureshi joined the company in 1993, has been an Ericsson executive since 2010, led the company’s integration of the Nortel CDMA and LTE assets, and ran the CDMA Mobile Systems business unit from 2010 through 2012.

She was appointed to MasterCard Worldwide’s board of directors in April 2011 and this month joined the Wolters Kluwer Supervisory Board. Quresi has a bachelor’s degree in information systems and an MBA from McGill University in Montreal.

As mentioned in a MobilityTechzone posting a week ago today, Ericsson sales in the first quarter were off 7 percent from the first quarter of last year and decreased 28 percent from last quarter, marking Ericsson’s lowest quarterly revenue in more than three years. Meanwhile, operating margin improved in all segments to 5.5 percent.

The decline in sales is primarily due to lower revenues from two large mobile broadband coverage projects in North America, which peaked in the first half of 2013, and reduced activity in Japan, as reported previously by MobilityTechzone. That, however, was offset in part by the growth Ericsson has seen in China, Latin America, and the Middle East.

In an effort to highlight some of the bright spots on the horizon, Ericsson Networks Head Johan Wibergh mentioned that the company in the first quarter won some business from Vodafone, which plans to use some of the profit from its deal with Verizon Wireless to make an addition $9 billion investment to improve networks in Europe, and emerging markets like India and South Africa.

The company also considers small cells an important area of great potential.  Network functions virtualization and software-defined networking also should create opportunities for Ericsson in the long-term future, according to Wibergh. In the first quarter Ericsson was tapped by AT&T as one of its user-defined cloud vendors. However, Wibergh said NFV and SDN aren’t expected to significantly impact its financials in the near term.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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