Did The iPhone Bring Down Nokia's CEO?
Early this morning, Nokia announced that Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the company’s longtime chief executive, is leaving his posh position as of September 20th. The announcement indicated that the new chief will be Microsoft's Stephen Elop, who will formally take the helm of Nokia the following morning. Nokia’s Board of Directors has appointed Stephen Elop President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia. Until September 21st, Elop will remain "head of Microsoft’s Business Division."
The announcement of Nokia's power shift didn't surprise many, especially given the company's nearly hopeless recent history of competing with major players in the increasingly competitive smartphone marketplace. In May, Kallasuvuo publicly admitted that Nokia flat-out failed to combat the iPhone, a reality that now appears may have helped to cost the outgoing CEO his job.
“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. In other words, Nokia needs a big thinker who isn't afraid to take on the iPhone and never admit that Apple has whipped them like a schoolyard bully. “The Nokia board believes that Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to realize 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.”
Although Kallasvuo will officially resign as president and CEO on Sept. 20, he isn't being completely thrown under the bus. He will, after all, continue to chair the Board of Nokia Siemens Networks in a non-executive capacity.