Saab’s owner, Spyker Cars N.V., said that on May 19, 2011, the 59-year-old CEO of Saab, Jan Ake Jonsson, will retire from the company. Jonsson was instrumental in saving Saab after former owner General Motors Co. wanted to close the Swedish brand.
Saab’s communications head, Eric Geers, said Jonsson had been planning to retire for months after working continuously for Saab’s future. Geers told Automotive News Europe that Jonsson had become a “symbol for not giving up -- not only for Saab but for Sweden as well.”
Jonsson will leave the money-losing Saab during a critical period. Saab has struggled to raise sales since it was purchased by Spyker from GM in February 2010.
Spyker said Jonsson has agreed to assist Saab's management with a smooth transition to his successor and will remain available to help until Sept. 1, 2011.
In a press release, Spyker said it has started a search for Jonsson's successor. The company said Saab Chairman Victor Muller will temporarily assume the additional role of Saab CEO.
Jonsson has been with Saab for almost his entire career of 40 years, including nearly six years as Saab’s head. He said that during the past three years, he concentrated on only one thing – his work. He believes that it’s now time to “spend some time on other things that had to stand back” due to his duties to Saab.