Third Nokia Resignation As Chairman Plans To Go

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

Jorma Ollila, Nokia’s chairman, said he will step down in 2012 to allow an even greater transformation for the phone maker as it struggles to stay on top.

Signalling that transformation is the current theme at Nokia, the company’s chairman, Jorma Ollila, announced at Nokia World 2010 in London that he will step down in 2012. This is the third high-profile change in less than a week.

Ollila’s plan to leave the company in 2012 follows the appointment of a new CEO to replace Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and the announcement that Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president responsible for smartphones, plans to leave the company in six months time.

Fading Heroes Of The Mobile Revolution

Jorma Ollila
Jorma Ollila

Each of the men leaving Nokia is credited with having helped make Nokia the largest mobile phone maker in the world. Now the company is seeing a period of decline with Nokia’s stock price sliding 70 percent over the past three years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some people may see this series of departures as upheaval for Nokia, in a time of increasing competition from Apple, Google and other smartphone makers, others view it as an opportunity. In particular, it is an opportunity for Elop to come in and make an immediate impression. Ollila’s departure will help to hasten that process.

Before stepping down as CEO, Kallasvuo named former Sun Microsystems executive Rich Green as the chief technology officer at Nokia. Mary McDowell, who runs Nokia’s mobile phones unit, will work closely with Tero Ojanpera, who runs Nokia’s services offerings, such as Ovi Life Tools, Ovi Mail, Ovi Store and Nokia Money.

In a statement in May, after announcing a reorganisation, Kallasvuo said, “In addition to extending our leadership in mobile phones, we are decisively moving to respond faster to growth opportunities we expect in smartphones and mobile computers.

“Nokia’s new organisational structure is designed to speed up execution and accelerate innovation, both short-term and longer-term. We believe that this will allow us to build stronger mobile solutions – a portfolio of products and integrated services that connect people and enable new ways of communicating, sharing and experiencing mobility.”

Green told eWEEK the company is serious about not only maintaining its sales and volume leadership in the smartphone market but also reclaiming technology and feature leadership from the competition.

As a start on this journey to retain its lead, Nokia announced four smartphones at its Nokia World 2010 show on September 14: the N8, the C6 and C7 siblings, and the E7 business-oriented device.