Nokia boss fails to relieve pressure

Nokia’s CEO did little to appease angry shareholders at the firm’s AGM yesterday, telling them only that he shared their frustration at the firm’s recent lack of progress in the smartphone market.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said he had expected changes to the firm’s structure to have been implemented faster, but said the firm is fully focussed on improving efficiency and regaining its top-dog status in the smartphone market.

“Over the last few years, we have been building a new Nokia, piece by piece,” Kallasvuo told the meeting, before conceding. “At times we have underestimated how long it takes for change to take effect.”

Increased competition in the low-end handset market from fake Nokia models was adding to the pressure on the firm’s device sales, Kallasvuo said.

However, there was no good news regarding forthcoming smartphone models, with the CEO reiterating that new products were in the pipeline, and that the recently announced N8 would spearhead the campaign.

Nokia will also push more high-end device features into mid- and low-end products to satisfy growing demand from emerging markets, he said.

High-profile investors were unimpressed by Kallasvuo’s speech, on a week when speculation was rife the CEO could be forced out of the company because it has failed to produce a handset that takes the fight to Apple.

One investor said shareholders were losing patience with Kallasvuo, and were worried Nokia’s brand could start to lose value. “Nokia has very little to show for their big research and development budget,” Max Jul Pedersen told Bloomberg.

The dissatisfaction among shareholders has resulted in Nokia’s shares being worth around 30% less than five years ago, FT.com reports.

However Kallasvuo still has the support of Nokia’s board, which yesterday re-avowed its confidence in his leadership .
 

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