Nokia chairman expected to stay on until 2012

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010

HELSINKI: Nokia Corp board chairman Jorma Ollila has signalled his readiness to stay on at the helm of the world’s leading handset maker until 2012.

Nokia spokesman Arja Suominen said that no announcement had been made but that Ollila has said he would be “at the disposal of the company” until the annual general meeting of the company in spring 2012.

The company had said recently that CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will be replaced by Stephen Elop, who heads Microsoft’s business division, as president and chief executive on Sept 21.

At a news conference introducing Elop, Ollila said the board had asked him to stay on as chairman for a transitionary period.

“The board did want me to continue because this is a particularly difficult time. My time will be up soonest,” Ollila told reporters on Sept 10, but added that “no time (had been) set.”

Nokia’s announcement on Elop came after its stock had continued to plunge — down more than 20% this year after two profit warnings — and the company’s management had come under increasing pressure.

Yesterday, Nokia presented new phones and handset applications, hoping to get back into the high-end smartphone race.

“Today our fight back to smartphone leadership shifts into high gear,” said Niklas Savander, executive vice-president of Nokia’s markets unit said at the Nokia World event in London. “Despite new competition, Symbian remains the most widely used smartphone platform in the world.”

The company unveiled three new smartphones — the C6, C7 and E7. But markets were not impressed and Nokia stock closed down more than 3% in Helsinki at US$9.82 (RM31.40).

Neil Mawston, from Strategy Analytics in London said the new handsets meant a “step forward, rather than a leap” for the Finnish company.

“They are not iPhone killers just yet. It closes the gap, rather than overtakes them,” Mawston said. “Nokia still clearly has got some way to go in improving design and overall user experience.”

After the announcement of Kallasvuo’s dismissal, Nokia’s mobile solutions business chief Anssi Vanjoki said that he too will leave the company. — AP

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