Why Jacoby was ousted at Volvo? One theory
When Volvo Car Corp. announced last week that Stefan Jacoby would step down as CEO, company Vice Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson was vague about the reasons why.
No, Jacoby's recent stroke wasn't the problem. But possible reasons for his abrupt departure aren't difficult to find.
For instance, Jacoby, 54, had deep philosophical differences with Geely founder Li Shufu over Volvo's long-term direction. Shortly after Geely acquired Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in 2010, Li suggested that Volvo should introduce upscale luxury sedans to compete with BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
Jacoby demurred. Volvo's European managers preferred to concentrate on smaller vehicles to burnish the company's "green" image. But at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Jacoby acknowledged that China's chauffeur-driven executives had a strong preference for stretched luxury sedans.
"If you want to be successful, you have to listen to customers," he told journalists, adding that Volvo and Geely were having "fruitful discussions."
Those discussions apparently led nowhere. During the 2011 Shanghai auto show, Jacoby told reporters that proposals for an upscale Volvo luxury car were dead.
Five months later, Freeman Shen -- a Geely executive who currently runs Volvo's China operations -- asserted that one of Volvo's top five long-term goals was to become a top-tier luxury brand. So it seemed that Li would prevail after all.
Hakan Samuelsson, 61, former head of German truckmaker MAN, replaces Jacoby.
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