(Adds detail, fourth-quarter profit)
STOCKHOLM, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The world's biggest roller bearings maker, Sweden-based AB SKF, said on Tuesday its board of directors appointed Tom Johnstone as new president and chief executive to replace Sune Carlsson, who is retiring.
SKF, which also reported a 19 percent increase in fourth-quarter pre-tax profit, despite a slight fall in sales, said in a statement that Johnstone would take charge from April 15.
Johnstone, a 47-year-old Scot, is at present SKF executive vice president and head of the group's automotive division.
He joined the company as a salesman in 1977 and worked his way up to become executive vice president in 1999.
Stock market dealers said they were encouraged by the choice of Johnstone, who is identified with the group's cost-cutting programme and improved price mix.
The SKF board appointed Christer Gyberg, currently head of the group's industrial division, as new executive vice president from April 15.
Carlsson, who won the respect of financial market analysts and investors by restructuring the group and delivering improved earnings in tough market conditions, will retire at the age of 62 after five years at the helm.