BP has appointed Carl-Henric Svanberg, now chief executive officer of the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson, to replace Peter Sutherland as chairman of the company.

Svanberg, who is also chairman of Sony Ericsson and a non-executive director of Melker Schorling, will join the BP board as chairman-designate and non-executive director on 1 September 2009.

Svanberg will step down at year-end after a seven-year tenure as Ericsson chief executive and Sony Ericsson chairman and succeed Sutherland as chairman of BP on 1 January 2010. He will be based in London and will devote most of his time to BP business.

Svanberg said that it was a great privilege to be invited to lead the BP board.

“Following such a distinguished predecessor is quite a challenge but I’m hugely excited about joining the energy industry, which is so much at the heart of the global economy. I look forward to it with relish,” Svanberg said.

The search for the new chairman was conducted by the BP board’s nominations committee, led by Sir Ian Prosser. The other committee members were Sir William Castell, DeAnne Julius and Peter Sutherland.

Prosser said that the process had been worldwide and exhaustive, producing candidates from the UK, continental Europe and the US.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward said that Svanberg was recognised for his transformation of Ericsson.

“Peter Sutherland has been an outstanding chairman, guiding the company through one of the most successful periods in its history. He will be a hard act to follow but I am sure Carl-Henric will be a worthy successor.”