Microsoft names Nokia's Elop as EVP of devices, amid executive changes ahead of Build conference

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella named Nokia (NYSE:NOK) executive Stephen Elop as the head of Microsoft's devices division as part of a restructuring of Microsoft's executive team. The changes come just ahead of Microsoft's Build developer conference, which it will kick off Wednesday in San Francisco.

microsoft stephen elop nokia


Elop, a Microsoft veteran, had been expected to return to Microsoft ever since the software giant announced in September that it would buy Nokia's handset division for $7.5 billion. In a blog post, Nadella said Elop will serve as executive vice president of Microsoft's Devices Group, and will report to Nadella. Elop stepped down as Nokia CEO last fall and has been serving as head of Nokia's devices and services division.

Microsoft and Nokia recently indicated that the closing of their deal would be delayed until sometime in April because of the need to get approval from regulators in Asia.

"I've had a chance to work closely with Stephen, when he was previously a senior leader with Microsoft, as a key partner during his tenure as Nokia CEO, and again in the last several months as we've worked through the initial stages of integration planning," Nadella wrote. "I look forward to working with Stephen as a key member of the senior leadership team and welcoming the Nokia Devices and Services employees to the Microsoft family."

Nadella wrote that Nokia's team will bring mobile capabilities, hardware design expertise and "world-class manufacturing and supply chain operations," which will help "drive innovations in devices to delight our customers."

Nadella also promoted Scott Guthrie to executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, basically taking away the interim label Guthrie had after assuming into Nadella's old job. Additionally, Nadella said Phil Spencer will take on a new role that combines multiple assets around Microsoft's videogame console: Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video, as well as Microsoft Studios.

Nadella wrote that Elop will work closely with Guthrie and Spencer "and will bring together many of the top leaders from his existing Nokia Devices and Services organization as well as the current leaders of the Devices and Studios team."

At the Build conference Microsoft is expected to highlight its progress toward creating a more unified "One Windows" experience for users across its various operating systems. Microsoft executives will likely announce new features for Windows Phone 8.1 and the  Windows 8 Update 1 operating system. According to ZDNet, which cited unnamed sources, executives will share a bit about the future evolution of Windows, codenamed "Threshold."

At a keynote session Wednesday Microsoft is expected to announce Windows Phone 8.1 features, which will likely include a voice-activated digital assistant codenamed "Cortana" and its new "Action Center" notification center. According to The Verge, Microsoft will also likely have a new Start Screen background option that will allow Windows Phone 8.1 users to use an image as the background skin of Windows Phone's live tiles user interface. Nokia is also expected to announce at a separate event on Wednesday night new Lumia Windows Phones, including the high-end Lumia 930 and the mid-range Lumia 630.  

For more:
- see this Microsoft blog post
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this ZDNet article
- see this The Verge article

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