June 2, 2016 / 7:42 AM / in a year

Biometric sensor specialist Fingerprint names new CEO

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Fingerprint Cards has appointed a new chief executive as it seeks to expand into new market areas such as smart cards and Internet of Things, the maker of biometric sensors for mobile phones and other devices said on Thursday.

The Swedish company said Jorgen Lantto would be replaced as CEO in August this year by Christian Fredrikson, currently the chief executive of Finnish cyber security firm F-Secure.

The company has been around for nearly two decades, but had its breakthrough year in 2015 as demand for fingerprint sensors in smartphones soared.

Joel Westerstrom, analyst at research firm Redeye, said the CEO change was understandable given the rapid development of the company. He said it also marked a transition from a component supplier focused on fingerprint sensors to a group with a broader scope.

“We see today’s news as a natural development rather than something very dramatic that leads us to question the state of the company,” he said in a note. He also said Fredrikson, with a solid background in R&D and sales, was a good candidate to lead Fingerprint Cards in that transition.

Fingerprint Cards said Fredrikson had several leading positions within Nokia Networks and experience in areas such as real-time security for digital systems, cloud technology and Asian markets.

“Christian Fredrikson has long experience from the new markets we wish to expand toward,” Fingerprint Chairman Jan Wareby said in a statement.

“We believe he has the competence that is required to develop FPC into the future.”

Fingerprint Cards shares soared 1,600 percent last year as demand for fingerprint sensors in phones surged. They were down 4 percent by 0831 GMT on Thursday.

Fingerprint Cards said last month it would return excess capital to shareholders and forecast an operating margin of at least 35 percent in 2016-2018, announcing its first long-term financial targets.

Its operating margin was 31 percent last year.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm. Editing by Jane Merriman

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