Ericsson hires Veon's ex-general counsel as next legal head
Scott Dresser joins telecoms giant amid ongoing tussle with DoJ over alleged corrupt payments in Iraq
Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has hired Scott Dresser as chief legal officer (CLO) and senior vice president amid its ongoing legal battle with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over alleged breaches of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) regarding corrupt payments in Iraq.
Dresser, who will be based in the US, joins Ericsson after eight years at Veon, where he was group general counsel. He succeeds incumbent CLO Xavier Dedullen, who is set to stay on board to facilitate the transition. Dedullen, who secured the role in 2018, played a key role during the turn-around of Ericsson's business, the company said.
Shortly after Dedullen's appointment, Ericsson agreed to pay more than $1bn as part of a deferred prosecution agreement following allegations of corruption in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.
However, earlier this month Ericsson revealed that the DoJ had accused it of breaching the agreement by withholding information about its activities in Iraq. According to the BBC – and other media outlets – this related to possible payments to the Islamic State group, although Ericsson said its investigation 'could not identify that any Ericsson employee was directly involved in financing terrorist organisations'.
In his new role, Dresser will be tasked with overseeing Ericsson's legal and compliance function, a role that will see him take charge of the phone maker’s ongoing negotiations with the DoJ.
Börje Ekholm, Ericsson president and CEO, said Dresser was joining the company at a “critical time”.
He added: “We demand that our business be conducted responsibly and with integrity across its value chain. Scott’s experience driving positive change will be invaluable as Ericsson expands its business and continues its cultural transformation, enhancing its governance, compliance and controls.”
Dresser has more than two decades of experience acting in the technology, media and telecoms sector, including a six-year stint leading Virgin Atlantic's 60-strong legal function as general counsel between 2006 and 2012.
He began his legal career in private practice at Lord Day & Lord in New York and later joined Morgan Lewis in 1994, where he advised companies on M&A, securities, governance and corporate matters for seven years. He later worked as general counsel of White Mountains Capital in 2005 until he left for Virgin Atlantic the following year.
Dresser departed Veon in December according to a company statement published in October, in which CEO Kaan Terzioğlu thanked him for his contributions to the company's growth.
"Scott has been a real cornerstone for the company and has been instrumental to all strategic initiatives of the group," Terzioğlu said.