As head of the Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) smartphone unit, Jo Harlow is responsible for helping Nokia make the transition to using Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone platform as its primary smartphone operating system. Given the stakes for Nokia, there are few jobs in the industry that have drawn as much scrutiny.
Although Nokia has stumbled in smartphones in recent years, Harlow has the chops to execute the transition to Windows Phone. Harlow has been with Nokia since 2003, and survived two management shakeups in October 2009 and May 2010. Harlow served as vice president of handset marketing for North America and as senior vice president of global handset marketing. She also was senior vice president of Symbian smartphones. Prior to coming to Nokia, Harlow held marketing, sales and management roles at Reebok and Procter & Gamble.
Harlow is in a tough situation today, but has projected confidence about the transition. She said in late May that Nokia will release Windows Phone devices a steady clip in 2012 once it gets its first device into the market later this year. Harlow has a direct line to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and is one of four women on a 14-member management team. Last but not least, Harlow was the captain of Duke University's women's basketball team in the early 1980s, so she knows how to lead and fight back, even if the scoreboard isn't looking too promising.