Escalating tensions between Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby and Volvo Vice Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson may be working against the Swedish brand's stated goals of regaining lost European market share, as well as remaining relevant as a luxury brand on the world stage.
Reports indicate that Jacoby and Olsson have clashed on statements made about Volvo group strategies, as well as butted heads on a "key executive appointment" in recent weeks.
Some of the conflict is by design, oddly enough, as new Chinese owner Geely intentionally brought Olsson back into the fold – the Swede is a former CEO of Volvo himself and has served some four decades with the company, all told – to keep Jacoby sharp. However, the Geely-devised system of "checks and balances" may be off the rails at this point, as the battle has become increasingly intense and is said to have held up some day-to-day decisions.
To make matters worse, Jacoby has been out of the picture for a bit after suffering a small stroke last month and taking medical leave.
Despite these insider reports of troubled times, Geely chairman Li Shufu (who also serves as chairman of Volvo) seems to believe that the arrangement is working as planned. It was Li that tasked Olsson with with closely watching Volvo management, as it tries desperately to turn around its lately flagging fortunes.
On the record, the company has stated that all is well in the house of Volvo. Spokesman Per-Åke Fröberg responded to the agllegations flatly, "There is no conflict between Stefan Jacoby and Hans-Olov Olsson."