Veteran Nokia chief Kallasvuo to exit

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Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is leaving the company after 30 years according to reports from the US

Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is to exit the Finnish giant as it seeks to clawback ground in the smartphone market, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal claims Nokia has started the search for Kallasvuo’s replacement, with two US-based executives already interviewed, although spurning the opportunity to lead the Finnish firm.

No comment was available from Nokia as there has been no official confirmation of Kallasvuo’s departure at this point.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo joined Nokia in 1980 and has been a group executive board member since 1990. From 2004 to 2005, Kallasvuo was executive vice president and general manager of mobile phones. He was named president and chief operating officer in 2005, before his appointment as chief executive in 2006.

Nokia’s second quarter results are scheduled to be released on July 22, and the company has already downgraded the outlook for its devices and services segment, with net sales now expected to be at the lower end of, or slightly below, the previously expected range of €6.7 billion to €7.2 billion. This is primarily due to lower than previously expected average selling prices and mobile device volumes.

Nokia also expects its second quarter non-IFRS operating margin to be at the lower end of, or slightly below, its previously expected range of 9-12 per cent, primarily due to a lower than previously expected gross margin.

At the time, Informa Telecoms & Media senior analyst Gavin Byrne said: “2010 is a crunch year for Nokia where its two main challenges are to innovate and to execute.

“The Finnish vendor retains many strengths; including its scale and its impressive logistics and distribution capabilities. However, Nokia must improve its performance in the smartphone market if it is to renew its brand image, enhance its appeal to consumers and halt its downward slide in smartphone volume and value share. This can only be achieved if the company successfully delivers meaningful innovation that will at least match the user experience offered by its competitors.

“Nokia’s smartphone strategy is almost entirely focussed on the Symbian platform, a platform that has seen an erosion in its support from leading OEMs and developers since the entry of Apple and Android powered devices.

“Thus any failure from Nokia to deliver meaningful innovation, could transform the Symbian platform into Nokia’s straightjacket in the smartphone market as it loses out to growing operator demand for other devices using other OS platforms.”

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