Change at the top at ABB

Staff reporter

ABB CEO Bjorn Rosengren will hand over the reins at the end of July this year to Morten Wierod after presiding over record financial results for the group in 2023.

Norwegian Wierod, 52, joined ABB in 1998 and is currently president of its electrification business.

“Morten is a strong successor to Bjorn with his deep understanding of ABB and our decentralised operating model in addition to his extensive expertise across our key customer segments and strong performance track record,” ABB chair Peter Voser said.

Rosengren said in ABB’s just-released 2023 annual report the company’s record US$32.2 billion annual sales and $3.74 billion net income reflected its strong performance as a technology leader in electrification and automation.

“Our solutions helped to optimise, electrify and decarbonise industry, buildings, power and transport – sectors that together account for the lion’s share of global energy-related carbon emissions,” Rosengren said.

ABB’s R&D investment topped $1.3 billion in 2023. At the end of the year it had about 7500 employees working in R&D centres in more than 30 countries.

“Around 55% of our R&D employees are focused on digital and software development,” Rosengren said.

“We already have more than 100 AI-focused projects across the ABB Group.

“We are certain that generative AI has tremendous potential for our business.

“Our robotics division produces AI-enabled robots with integrated vision, which can work safely and autonomously in warehouses. In our process automation business area we continue to progress towards autonomous operations, for which AI is an important enabler.

“We also use AI for preventive maintenance and are working with our long-standing strategic partner Microsoft to unlock further customer value from operational data.”

About half ABB’s revenues are derived from industrial customers in process industries such as oil and gas, pulp and paper and mining, as well as “discrete” industries such as automotive, food and beverage, and consumer electronics.

“Demand for our electrification and automation offerings with embedded digital solutions increased as the energy crisis and tight labour markets served as a prominent reminder to companies of the importance of energy efficiency and flexibility in automated production,” Rosengren said.

“This has accelerated customer demand for the digital services and solutions we offer.”

Swiss-listed ABB exited the New York Stock Exchange in 2023.

The US remains the group’s largest single market.

Rosengren said it accounted for 26% of annual group revenues and hosted more than 40 manufacturing and distribution facilities.

The NYSE delisting “had no impact on our business or operations”.


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