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Bang & Olufsen names ex-BlackBerry manager to fix ailing company

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Bang & Olufsen A/S replaced its chief executive officer with a former manager from BlackBerry Ltd as investors grow impatient with the slow pace of the company's turnaround.

[COPENHAGEN] Bang & Olufsen A/S replaced its chief executive officer with a former manager from BlackBerry Ltd as investors grow impatient with the slow pace of the company's turnaround.

Kristian Tear, 55, will take over immediately from Henrik Clausen, who presided over three profit warnings in less than a year at the unprofitable Danish maker of luxury audio systems.

Bang & Olufsen's offerings have lost their appeal as the company is undercut by cheaper manufacturers and consumers shift from away from expensive hi-fi audio sets to mobile systems powered by their smartphones.

The shares have fallen 74 per cent over the past 12 months.

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Mr Tear comes with experience at two technology companies that have also struggled to maintain themselves after their heyday. He has been vice president of the Europe region for Logitech International SA, the Swiss company that pioneered the computer mouse, for four years. Before that, he was chief operating officer at BlackBerry.

Bang & Olufsen, which sells products such as US$15,000 television sets, reported a second consecutive quarterly loss last week as retailers struggled to clear out excess inventory. The company has been cracking down on shops that shift products to unauthorized sales channels at discounts, which has exacerbated a drop in revenue.

Replacing Mr Clausen doesn't alter the outlook for this financial year, the company said Tuesday.

 

BLOOMBERG