BP's two-year hunt to fill one of Britain's most prestigious corporate jobs ended today with the appointment of Carl-Henric Svanberg as chairman.

Mr Svanberg, who is currently chief executive of the Swedish telecoms company Ericsson, will take over from Peter Sutherland in January. Mr Sutherland's departure was expected last year but was delayed by the decision not to proceed with the appointment of the initial favourite.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward described Mr Svanberg as a businessman of international stature and a worthy successor to Mr Sutherland, who has served as BP's chairman since 1997.

Mr Svanberg will join BP after a seven-year tenure as Ericsson's chief executive and as chairman of its joint venture Sony Ericsson. He will be based in London and will devote the majority of his time to BP business.

Paul Anderson, an American mining and energy executive, had been seen as one of the frontrunners for the role of chairman. He is currently on the board of mining giant BHP Billiton and worked for two decades at Duke Energy.

Mr Svanberg joins BP at a challenging time after almost 40% of its shareholders voted against the company's remuneration report at this year's annual meeting.

Other tasks facing the new chairman include expanding the company's presence in emerging markets such as China and India, where state-backed energy companies have been reluctant to allow global firms to build dominant positions.