Swedish telecoms company Ericsson has announced that company veteran Ulf Ewaldsson will replace Hakan Eriksson as chief technology officer on 1 February.

Ewaldsson brings to the CTO role 20 years of experience in product management, industry development and customer relationship. He has worked for Ericsson since 1990 in several locations, including China, Japan, Hong Kong and Hungary.

Ewaldsson is currently head of product area radio within Ericsson's Business Unit Networks and a member of Ericsson's research board. He has helped define key products including HSPA (high-speed packet access) and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) radio access network equipment. He was also involved in the development of Ericsson's AIR (Antenna Integrated Radio) small-cell system.

“Ericsson has the industry leading research organisation with a strong focus in the wireless area and the IP and application domain as well as being the industry driver and leader in open standardisation and industry forums,” said Ewaldsson. “I look forward to joining this team and leading its continuous success.”

Ewaldsson will also be taking on the roles of senior vice president and head of group function technology and portfolio management for Ericsson. As a member of Ericsson's executive leadership team, he will be based in Stockholm and therefore will not take on the role as Head of Ericsson Silicon Valley, which Hakan Eriksson also held.

Eriksson has led the company's Internet Protocol business and its Silicon Valley operation in San Jose, California, since 2009. The Silicon Valley operation works with hardware, software and Internet companies in the area. Eriksson, whose wife is from Australia, is leaving to become head of the company's Australia, New Zealand and Fiji business.

Ericsson's president and CEO Hans Vestberg emphasised the company's ongoing commitment to its Silicon Valley operations.

“Our operation in San Jose remains the centre of our IP business,” said Vestberg. “We will continue to drive the convergence of fixed, mobile and Internet from Silicon Valley and focus on strengthening partnerships in the areas of both hardware and software, Internet applications as well as in the PC industry.”

The news follows Ericsson's announcement last October that it was selling its 50 percent share in the Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture for £918.16 million (US$1.5bn). The deal will allow Sony to integrate phones into its overall product lineup, as rivals such as Apple and Samsung do now, and better leverage its broad music and movie holdings.

Ericsson also announced last week that it had reached a global cross-licensing agreement with Chinese telecommunications vendor ZTE, settling patent suits filed between the two companies last year.