Swedish state-owned energy giant Vattenfall has appointed Magnus Hall as its new president and CEO, succeeding outgoing chief Øystein Løseth.

Hall will assume his new position on 1 October.

“I am very pleased to have been trusted to lead Vattenfall,” Hall said. “At the same time I take on this task with great humility as Vattenfall is a company that has an incredibly important role in society. With its long history and unique position in the energy sector Vattenfall is a company to be proud of and I look forward to being part of building Vattenfall’s future”, he said.  

“Magnus Hall has a strong industry background and extensive experience as CEO with an international company. The Board is delighted to announce the recruitment of Magnus Hall”, said Lars Nordström, Vattenfall’s chairman of the board of directors.

Previously Hall was president and CEO of forest industry company Holmen, where he worked for 29 years before becoming chief in 2003. He resigned his position in February.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet called the appointment unexpected, saying Vattenfall’s CFO Ingrid Bonde had been tipped to take over the top job.

Hall is chairman of the BasEl association of Swedish industrial power buyers, which some say may conflict with his new role. He has also been involved in an industry campaign for new nuclear power in Sweden.

Vattenfall posted big losses last year, related largely to its 2009 purchase of Dutch utility Nuon.  Vattenfall wrote down Nuon’s assets in 2013, leading to losses for Swedish taxpayers and a blame game in the nation’s media. 

The firm has also announced plans to cut its annual SEK800m ($122.9m) research budget by 15-20 per cent, citing cost concerns and a challenging European energy market.