Securitas announces new CEO

Thursday, September 14, 2006

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--Securitas announced that Alf Goransson would take over as the new president and CEO of the company, replacing Thomas Berglund, who spent 14 years at the helm.
Goransson, 48, is president and CEO of NCC, a civil engineering construction company, and will join Securitas on March 5, 2007. Goransson is former CEO of Svedala Industri and Swedish Rail Systems.
Berglund, "the heart and soul" of the company, according to one analyst, will leave the company in March of next year.
The August announcement has left at least one industry analyst baffled. Jack Mallon, of Mallon Associates, said the timing "seems odd" considering the spin off of Securitas into four separate and focused security companies is near completion. Mallon said he believes the resignation may have been influenced by Berglund's failure to sell its armed car subsidiary.
For the past six months, the company had explored selling its Loomis Cash Handling service as a private entity as opposed to including it as one of the four companies listed on the Stockholm exchange last month.
With the conversion of the Euro, Mallon said the company has also lost approximately $40 million during the past couple of years, which might have added to further "unhappiness" with Berglund's performance.
Henrik Brehmer, head of investor relations and communications for Securitas, said the announcement comes at a "natural time," and that the decision was agreed upon between Berglund and the company's board of directors, he said.
"I guess you could say (Berglund's) job has disappeared," Brehmer said, and the birth of the new companies marked an appropriate time for "new people to come in."
He denied media reports that pointed to financial difficulties as the impetus for the resignation.
Mallon said he was disappointed with Berglund's announcement.
"He was really the heart and soul of Securitas, and the architect of their growth," he said. "He moved into the United States in a dramatic fashion and became one of the largest security providers in the world. He successfully put together a diversified security company, which few people are able to do."
Looking back on Berglund's 22 years of service, Brehmer said the 54-year-old is recognized as a valued employee and as the driving force behind the strategic separation of the structured businesses that have "successfully developed and matured in their own ways."
Now, the guard services giant has divided into integration, alarms, guarding and the cash handling service. Each will sport its own logo and be governed by its own management team and board of directors. At press time, trading on the Stockholm Stock Exchange was slated to begin on Sept. 29.
The decision to break up the company had matured within Securitas over the past two years, Brehmer said, when the company realized that each arm had built its own business models, had less operational synergies and had proven mature enough to stand alone. Securitas' latest move should benefit the four new companies, the market and investors, Brehmer said.
Under the initiative to divide the group into specialized companies, Brehmer said, "There is an ongoing consolidation within the industry as a whole and (these separate companies) will take part in that. We intend to acquire high quality companies, not to drive volume but to focus on high quality in technology."
He said an acquisition strategy would include scaling up business in countries where Securitas has a small presence, such as Asia, and to focus on new markets for the guarding business.