Report: Nokia CEO likely to shake up executive team

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) CEO Stephen Elop may make major changes to the company's executive management team as part of a broader change in company strategy, according to multiple news reports.

The reports in the Wall Street Journal and the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche, which cited unnamed sources, said that a number of key players on Nokia's 10-person executive board might be asked to leave as Nokia tries to regain its leadership position. Elop plans to outline the new strategy at an investor conference on Feb. 11 in London. 

Nokia spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong declined to comment.

The Journal report said that in addition to asking some executives to leave the company, Nokia is searching for a new head of operating systems and a new head of research and development who can bring a strong software focus to the firm. Elop, the first non-Finn to run Nokia is trying to decide how much he wants to keep Finnish talent in the leadership team and how to change strategy, a source said. The Wirtschaftswoche report said that Mary McDowell, the head of Nokia's mobile phones unit, and Niklas Savander, the manager of its markets unit, may be on the chopping block.

Speculation about Nokia's strategy has kicked into overdrive following Elop's comments last month that Nokia needs to "build, catalyze and/or join a competitive ecosystem," though he did not give any specifics. Nokia is still the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume, but its market share has eroded significantly over the past year. 

"They have to come up with something bold" because "Symbian continues to decline," one source told the Journal.

Underscoring the changing landscape, analysts at Canalys reported that Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform surpassed Symbian device shipments for the first time in the fourth quarter--thereby making Android the most widely used smartphone operating system in the world.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)

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