June 17, 2020 / 12:22 PM / 22 days ago

ABB to scrap chief digital officer role, Guido Jouret to leave company

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss power technology and automation group ABB is seen at the Swiss Economic Forum (SEF) conference in Interlaken, Switzerland May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - ABB (ABBN.S) Chief Digital Officer Guido Jouret is to leave the Swiss engineering company as part of new Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren’s plan to scale back its centralised operations and empower its individual businesses.

“The Chief Digital Officer role will no longer exist,” an ABB spokesman said, adding Jouret will leave the company in the near future.

The move is the first major departure at ABB since former Sandvik (SAND.ST) Chief Executive Rosengren took charge in March.

Jouret, a former Cisco (CSCO.O) and Nokia (NOKIA.HE) executive joined ABB in Oct. 2016, where he oversaw the launch of ABB Ability, the engineering company’s digital software offering which competes with Siemens’s (SIEGn.DE) MindSphere and others.

Since its launch ABB Ability has agreed software partnerships with IBM (IBM.N), Microsoft (MSFT.O), and Hewlett Packard (HPE.N) to develop products to improve the productivity of factories by linking up industrial sensors with controllers and computer systems.

ABB said it was abolishing the role as part of Rosengren’s plan to slim down its centralized functions and to be closer to customers.

Rosengren last week outlined his vision to decentralize the company, whose business runs form electrical charging stations to industrial robots.

Under the shake-up, ABB Ability will be managed by each of the 18 separate divisions and no longer centrally from the company’s office in Silicon Valley.

“ABB Ability and our digital platform will remain an essential part of our business going forward,” the spokesman said. “We have more than 160 digital solutions and we want to push forward our partnership with our current customers by bringing together software with our installed base.”

Reporting by John Revill, editing by Michael Shields

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