After helming the affairs at Nokia for over a decade, Rajeev Suri has announced his departure from the role of President and CEO, the company said in a statement on Monday. Nokia also announced the appointment of Pekka Lundmark, the outgoing President and CEO of Finland-based energy firm Fortum, as the new boss. Suri is set to officially step down on the 1st of August 2020. However, he will continue to serve as an advisor to the Nokia Board until the 1st of January 2021.
“After 25 years at Nokia, I wanted to do something different,” said Suri, in a statement.
“Nokia will always be part of me, and I want to thank everyone that I have worked with over the years for helping make Nokia a better place and me a better leader. I leave the company with a belief that a return to better performance is on the horizon and with pride for what we have accomplished over time. Pekka is an excellent choice for Nokia. I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition and wish him the best success in his new role,” he said.
Suri had, a while back, indicated his desire to the Board to step down from the role at some point in the future, provided a solid succession plan was in place.
The Board of Directors conducted an extensive process for the succession and worked closely with Suri to develop internal candidates as well as identify potential external choices.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Nokia, an extraordinary company that has so much potential and so many talented people,” Pekka Lundmark said. “Together we can create shareholder value by delivering on Nokia’s mission to create the technology to connect the world. I am confident that the company is well-positioned for the 5G era and it is my goal to ensure that we meet our commitments to our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Speaking on the occasion, Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of Nokia, announced his pleasure with the appointment of Pekka Lundmark while showing optimism for the future of the Finnish company.
“With the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent behind us and the world of 5G in front of us, I am pleased that Pekka has agreed to join Nokia,” he said.
“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to thank Rajeev for his many contributions to Nokia, where he has served with both honor and distinction,” Siilasmaa added.
Nokia, once the biggest name in the telecommunications and cellphones sector, has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. The company has had a steep fall from grace in the cell-phone market after the introduction of Android and hasn’t been able to get a grip on the market ever since. There were several revival attempts, one that Microsoft attempted for a rather expensive $7 Billion+ price tag. And when that did not work out, Nokia tried yet another hand at the smartphone market with its own Android devices. That too, hasn’t player off.
The company, like its rivals Ericsson and Huawei, has shifted the focus on developing an extensive portfolio of 5G products for the telecom sector in recent years, although it has been substantially lagging behind its peers.
Nokia’s Technology unit, which manages the company’s patent portfolio, reported 3% growth in its operating profit to 1.24 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in 2019, while its sales slipped 1% to 1.49 billion euros. Under Suri, Nokia’s shares have fallen by more than a third.