Nokia’s top level changes just keep going on and on. First there was the announced firing of CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, whose replacement is going to be Stephen Elop, formerly head of Microsoft’s Business Division. Then Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s head of Mobile Solutions, chose to resign, a decision that was publicized just this morning.
And now there’s information that Nokia’s non-executive Chairman of the Board, Jorma Ollila, might step down from this position following the company’s general meeting in 2012.
Finnish media quoted him over the weekend as saying that he intended to remain at the board’s disposal as chairman until 2012, a deadline investors interpreted as indicating his intention to leave the company. Nokia today confirmed that he was considering stepping down as board chairman in 2012.
Sure enough, 2012 is still quite far away, but this is big news not necessarily because a Chairman of the Board of a big corporation is thinking about resigning in two years’ time.
Jorma Ollila was Nokia’s CEO from 1992 to 2006 (when, most people agree, with his help, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo succeeded him). This is precisely the period in which Nokia rose to dominate the mobile world and became the biggest phone and smartphone maker on the planet. It would be foolish to disregard Ollila’s role in those achievements.
So his possible departure would indeed signify the end of an era for Nokia, an era that saw it reinvent itself to become the biggest mobile device company. After Ollila’s departure (or sooner), Nokia will have to prove to the world that it can once again reinvent itself to at least keep up with the superphone-charged times. If not to yet again become a great innovator in the mobile space.
Interesting moves, these. But it remains to be seen if the departures of three key people in the Nokia leadership team will be enough for things to really change in the media’s perception of the company.
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