Jan Ake Jonsson will step down from Saab in May having been at the firm since 1973

Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson is to retire from the company on 19 May, Saab’s parent firm Spyker has revealed.

Saab chairman Victor Mueller will take over as temporary CEO while a replacement is found, with Jonsson agreeing to assist the firm and his successor in the changeover period until 1 September.

Jonsson said the last three years, which has seen Saab threatened with closure by former owner General Motors, suffer several failed takeover attempts and finally be taken over by Spyker last year, has been “very demanding and force me to concentrate on one thing only – work”.

“Now it is time for me to also spend some time on other things that had to stand back for my duties to Saab,” he added.

Read more on Saab's future model plans

Jonsson, 59, first joined Saab back in 1973 and has held several key roles at the firm since then. Saab communications chief Eric Geers told Auto News that Jonsson had become a "symbol for not giving up, not only for Saab but for Sweden as well”.

Jonsson leaves Saab with the firm about a launch a new generation of models with a single common architecture, called Phoenix, that will first appear on next year’s long overdue replacement for the 9-3.

“I am convinced that Saab is on the right track toward replacing the entire product portfolio by October 2012, when the next generation 9-3 will be launched, as well as creating a stand-alone company with a financially sound business model,” said Jonsson.

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