Opera appoints new chief executive

Lars Boilesen, who returned to the browser company last year after a period at Alcatel-Lucent, will take over from co-founder Jon von Tetzchner
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Norwegian browser company Opera has appointed a new chief executive, Lars Boilesen, to replace Jon von Tetzchner, who is stepping down.

Lars Boilesen

Boilesen [pictured] formally took over the chief executive role from the Opera co-founder on Tuesday. Tetzchner said he has been in the process of handing over to Boilesen, who was previously Opera's chief commercial officer, for a year.

"What's important is that we have continuity," Tetzchner told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. "[Boilesen] came onto the board a year ago with the idea that he would replace me. I know him well. He's a good guy to take over, so I can have a freer role in the company."

Boilesen has over 20 years' experience in business development and sales. He has served as an executive at various companies, including Tandberg Data and Lego. Opera credits Boilesen with playing a key part in spurring the growth of the browser company when he was executive vice president of sales and marketing from 2000 to 2005.

He left Opera in 2005 to become chief executive for the Baltic region at Alcatel-Lucent, before returning to Opera a year ago.

Tetzchner, who co-founded Opera 15 years ago, will continue to work in an advisory capacity at the browser maker.

"You can call me an advisor — [Boilesen and I] will be talking to each other," Tetzchner said. "I reckon my voice will be heard. Opera is my baby — I want Opera to succeed."

The shift in leadership should not lead to any changes in emphasis at the company, according to Tetzchner.

"We are not changing the strategy as a company, we agree on direction," he said. "Globally we are the number-one mobile web browser, and in many countries we have a major position on the desktop. That's what we will continue focusing on."

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