Nokia appoints senior Microsoft executive to be its CEO

10 Sep 2010

Mobile giant Nokia has poached the head of Microsoft’s Business Division Stephen Elop to become its CEO. Elop is a seasoned technology executive who has held senior roles in Juniper Networks, Adobe and Macromedia.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will leave his current position as president and CEO of Nokia on 20 September, 2010, and his position on the Nokia board of directors with immediate effect. He will continue to chair the board of Nokia Siemens Networks in a non-executive capacity.

“The time is right to accelerate the company’s renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success,” said Jorma Ollila, chairman of the Nokia board of directors.

“The Nokia board believes that Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to realise the full potential of Nokia. His strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company.

“We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders,” Ollila said. It is hoped Elop’s arrival at Nokia will help re-energise the company and give it focus at a time when the mobile landscape is undergoing tremendous change.

Apple is cementing the iPhone’s position as the smartphone of choice while Google’s Android operating system is now featuring on 17.6pc of smartphones worldwide, less than two years since its introduction.

Nokia’s share of the global mobile device market stood at 34.2pc at the end of the second quarter of this year, down from 36.8pc last year. Symbian’s share of the market for mobile operating systems fell from 51pc last year to 41.2pc in Q2.

Stephen Elop’s background

Elop holds a degree in computer engineering and management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, which is his home country.

Elop commented on his new Nokia position: “I am extremely excited to become part of a team dedicated to strengthening Nokia’s position as the undisputed leader of the mobile communications industry, with a relentless focus on meeting the needs and expectations of customers. Nokia has a unique global position, as well as a great brand upon which we can build.

“The company has deeply talented and dedicated people, and I am confident that together we can continue to deliver innovative products that meet the needs of consumers. The Nokia slogan clearly states our key mission: Connecting People, which will acquire new dimensions as we build our portfolio of products, solutions and services.”

In accordance with the terms and conditions of his service contract, Kallasvuo is entitled to a severance payment consisting of 18 months gross base salary and target incentive which totals about €4.6m. He will also receive as compensation the fair market value of the 100,000 restricted Nokia shares granted to him in 2007, which vest on 1 October, 2010.

“The whole board of directors joins me in thanking Olli-Pekka for his 30 years at Nokia, during which he has been deeply involved in developing the company and its operations. His dedication and contribution throughout the years has been exceptional. The board wishes him every success in his future pursuits,” said Ollila.

As of 10 September, 2010, the Nokia board will consist of the following members: Jorma Ollila (chairman), Dame Marjorie Scardino (vice-chairman), Lalita D Gupte, Bengt Holmström, Dr Henning Kagermann, Per Karlsson, Isabel Marey-Semper, Risto Siilasmaa, and Keijo Suila.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years