Kinnevik CEO Lorenzo Grabau packs his bags

07 Dec 2016

Today Kinnevik announced that Lorenzo Grabau, CEO for the past two-and-a-half years, will leave his position with immediate effect. Joakim Andersson (photo) was appointed as acting CEO.

He has been chief financial officer (CFO) since February last year, and has been with Kinnevik since 2001. In the 15 years since, he held a number of positions in the finance department, including that of group treasurer from 2007.

Joakim Andersson, acting CEO of Kinnevik from today (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

Kinnevik chairman Tom Boardman said in a radio interview in Sweden that there was no other reason for the change, than that the board wanted to take a new direction with its CEO. More specifically, it wanted a more consumer-orientated CEO.

Support for this explanation came from the news that Lorenzo will retain his board membership of Millicom, Qliro Group, Tele2 and Zalando.

Grabau, a manager with a financial background from Goldman Sachs, has been replaced by a manager tasked to build strong consumer brands. Kinnevik will also cut the number of investments from today’s more than 30 to under 20.

From our point of view, the big question is whether Kinnevik will stay in classifieds.

Kinnevik is majority owner of Saltside, with leading classifieds in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Nigeria, and a stake in Indian classifieds horizontal Quikr.

A person with great insight in the company, said it is unlikely Kinnevik will sell its stake in Quikr. India is a too big a market to just leave, and Quikr got special attention in November when Kinnevik presented its 3.0 New Generation Digital brands.

On the other hand, Kinnevik did make a killing when it sold its stake in Avito.ru, Russia’s leading classifieds horizontal.

Kinnevik has a strong presence in telecommunications (Millicom and Tele 2), in media (with MTG) and in e-commerce, with stakes in Zalando and Global Fashion Group, a Rocket Internet operation.

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Lars Herlin

Lars Herlin is an AIM Group senior analyst for Europe, and our expert on Schibsted. He had a long career in journalism at Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and VeckansAffärer, and served as managing editor and later managing director of Gotlands Allehanda.