Global construction giant Skanska AB has named Executive Vice President Anders Danielsson, a 26-year company veteran tapped last spring to shore up the firm's U.S. operations, to be CEO, effective Jan.1. 

Also now running global infrastructure work, he will succeed Johan Karlstrom, who will remain as a senior adviser until January 2019, when he will retire.

Danielsson also had been president of Skanska operations in Norway and Sweden.

Anders Danielsson

He was tapped to lead the U.S. unit, which has key roles on the $4-billion LaGuardia Airport redevelopment in New York City and a $2.3-billion, public-private interstate rebuild in Florida, because of the unit's "failure to consistently meet profitability expectations," the firm said last spring. U.S. unit Skanska Civil and its joint-venture partners were terminated in late 2015 as contractor on a $2-billion Boston rail extension amid concerns of a potential billion-dollar cost overrun.

Improving profitability will be a key focus for the firm, which reported project write-downs in the U.K., Danielsson told Bloomberg, adding, "We need to be more selective and choose contracts that we can earn more on." Danielsson also noted the global potential of the firm's residential development business, despite signs of a slowdown in that unit's key Swedish market.

At a Dec. 4 conference sponsored by Credit Suisse, Investor Relations Vice President Fredrik Hakansson told investors the firm expects "a margin impact" from the U.S. civil operations through 2018 and the first half of 2019, according to the investment bank's update. He said Skanska "is focusing on early-warning systems" and "will be going through an entire risk-management process for each project it is bidding on," according to the report.

Skanska ranks at No. 17 on ENR's Top 250 Global Contractors, reporting $15.4 billion in worldwide revenue. Its U.S.-based unit also ranks at No. 7 on ENR's Top 400 Contractors list, reporting about $6 billion in 2016 U.S. revenue.

Skanska AB shares, traded on the Stockholm exchange, are down 15% this year, although they rose 0.6% just after the announcement, according to Bloomberg.

Skanska spokesman says Danielsson will remain U.S. CEO until early 2018. The firm's board is set to appoint a new U.S. CEO in the first quarter. The firm did not confirm whether Richard Cavallaro is returning to that role. He now is president of Skanska USA's civil construction group.

Skanska also announced that Executive Vice President Mats Williamson, who also is CEO in Sweden, will depart on Jan. 1.

The executive changes come amid new project issues in New York City related to a relatively small but high-profile job in lower Manhattan.

Skanska USA in early December said it has halted construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, which an online media report estimated could reach $60 million in cost and was set for completion in late 2018, because of payment default by the project owner, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The firm alerted subcontractors in a Dec. 5 letter to stop work and immediately withdraw from the building site, according to a copy obtained by The Pappas Post, an online site.

In a Dec. 9 announcement, the archdiocese confirmed the work stoppage and an independent probe of project funding. 

St. Nicholas was destroyed in the 9/11 World Trade Center terror attack in 2001. The replacement church was being built at the site of the former Deutsche Bank building, which was damaged in the attack and later demolished.

The archdiocese last month announced that it is probing whether construction funding has been inappropriately used for operations. 

Skanska USA Executive Vice President and General Manager Thomas Webb said, "We have worked with the archdiocese throughout its well-documented, recent financial difficulties to extend payment deadlines and discuss alternatives, all while continuing to construct the shrine. Stopping work was the only viable option at this point in time."

The firm did not disclose the amount of payment it is owed or when work would restart.

The Santiago Calatrava-designed church was topped out in November 2016.