Rajeev Suri, the current CEO of Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), is hotly tipped to become parent company Nokia's next chief executive once the sale of its handset business to Microsoft is completed.
Sources with connections to Nokia's board told Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that Suri is the current frontrunner in the race to succeed Stephen Elop as CEO of the company.
Suri has gained plaudits for turning around NSN's performance by disposing of non-core assets in a restructuring plan that has made the infrastructure business profitable again, Reuters reported.
Elop is due to move to Microsoft when the U.S. company completes its €5.4 billion ($7.5 billion) acquisition of Nokia's handset business, which is scheduled to close by the end of March. Nokia chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, has been acting CEO of Nokia since September, when the handset business sale and Elop's departure were confirmed.
Nokia famously never comments on rumours and speculation, and a FierceWireless:Europe request for comment on today's reports was no exception.
A spokeswoman did, however, tell Reuters that the company will announce details of the company's future structure after the handset business sale is completed.
NSN's European executive vice president, Rene Svendsen-Tune, recently gave a similar line about the division's future in an interview with FierceWireless:Europe. "Nokia has not said anything about the strategy and the structure yet," he said, adding that acting CEO Siilasmaa has already said "NSN will be a very important part of the new Nokia."
Svendsen-Tune added that the announcement on Nokia's future will happen "the moment" the device business sale is completed.
The Finnish company announced in January that NSN will embark on a major sales push in the second half of 2014, after sales fell 22 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2013. The infrastructure business stayed profitable in the quarter, however, overturning a loss of €1.4 billion in fourth quarter 2012 with a profit of €15 million in the recent period.
At the time, an analyst told Reuters it is important for NSN to begin to grow its sales, because cost cutting alone will not sustain the business.
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