Since Apple first announced the iPhone nearly 4 years ago, Nokia has unsuccessfully struggled to catch up to Apple both in terms of product quality and smartphone market share. In its efforts, Nokia has resorted to suing Apple for patent infringement, and more notably, it recently announced plans to reorganize its corporate structure in an attempt to increase innovation and hasten the lag time from product design to launch. When you factor disappointing financial results over the past few quarters, Nokia is hardly in an enviable position.
So as Nokia’s efforts to remain relevant in the smartphone marketplace continue, the Finnish handset maker announced today that CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo would be stepping down from his position and replaced by Microsoft’s Stephen Elop.
“The time is right to accelerate the company’s renewal,” Nokia’s Chairman Jorma Ollila said in a statement. “The Nokia Board believes that Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to realize the full potential of Nokia.”
Mr. Elop, the 46-year old head of Microsoft’s business division, is scheduled to start on September 21.
“My role as leader of Nokia is to lead this team through the period of change, take the organization through this period of disruption…to meet the needs of its customers, while delivering superior financial performance,” Mr. Elop said at a news conference in Helsinki.
In a somewhat fascinating tidbit, the WSJ notes that Elop was chosen, in part, because he is Canadian.
The Finnish press criticized the company after The Wall Street Journal reported its chairman was wooing some American candidates for CEO, according to a person familiar with the situation.
“That helps a lot that he is not American,” this person said. Mr. Elop is at least seen “as a kindred spirit with the Finns.”
Sounds like a shrewd way to pick a CEO, don’t it?