Nokia has finally fired president and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, announcing today that Stephen Elop will take the helm from September 21.
Elop is the former head of Microsoft’s business division, and will be tasked with turning around the firm’s ailing handset business after Kallasvuo was roundly criticized for failing to produce an iPhone rival, which resulted in the erosion of Nokia’s share price.
The new president and CEO also brings crucial experience of the US market – a territory Nokia has traditionally struggled to crack – having previously held senior executive roles with Juniper Networks, Adobe and Macromedia.
"The time is right to accelerate the company's renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success,” Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila explained.
Elop’s industry experience will help Nokia realize its full potential, Ollila added, stating the former Microsoft mans “strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company.”
The appointment will appease investors who called for a chief with more US experience who could match Apple and Google’s fast-paced smartphone development, FT.com said.
In addition to tackling Nokia’s sliding smartphone share Elop will also be expected to beef up the firm’s Ovi apps store and Symbian smartphone operating system, WSJ.com reports.
Kallasvuo hit out at speculation the firm was seeking a successor in July, claiming the rumors were hindering his attempts to turn the company around after a dire 2Q when profits plummeted from €287 million to €104 million year-on-year.
The former CEO has immediately been removed from Nokia’s board of directors, but retains a non-executive post as chairman of the Nokia Siemens Networks board.
Nokia’s share price jumped 4.9% to €8.10 in early morning trading.