Kerssemakers, 62, told dealers he wanted them to know his intentions to avoid speculation about the pending change, telling them, "I will continue to stay fully operational until after the summer. The process of finding my successor has been initiated and further details will follow in due course."
He said he plans to "support a good handover, making sure we don’t lose speed in our transformation, and also [serve] in an advisory capacity to Jim Rowan, our new CEO from March 21."
Rowan will replace Hakan Samuelsson, who will step down after nearly a decade as Volvo's CEO.
The transformation Kerssemakers referred to includes Volvo's aim to be an electric-only brand by 2030 and for all of those EVs to only be available to purchase at the automaker's flagship online store, volvocars.com, the automaker announced last March. Volvo also wants half of its global sales to be done online by 2025.
When asked last March what the changes would mean to Volvo's global retail network, Kerssemakers said: "We have 2,400 retail partners who have invested with us over the last 10 years -- in the brand, in people, in facilities. We believe we will build up a strong online system, they have built up a strong offline system, and they need to work flawlessly together."
In his letter to dealers this week, he re-emphasized that objective when he said: "We have started to implement new ways to market and jointly developed the business model where online and offline channels meet and complement each other."
Including Rowan, Kerssemakers will have worked for 10 CEOs during his time at Volvo. He was on the company's executive management team from 2004-08 and from 2010 until now, according to the company's website.
Kerssemakers, a Dutch national who is known for being straightforward and kind, concluded his letter by telling dealers that until his departure -- and long after: "I remain the same person as you know me to be. So, business as usual!"