Mobile

Why Nokia’s exec shakeup is exactly what it needs

Nokia N8Several Nokia executives may soon be sacked as part of CEO Stephen Elop’s grand strategy revamp for the company, Reuters reports.

The news, which was first reported by the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche this morning, may seem like yet another setback for the beleaguered phone company, which has struggled to keep pace with the iPhone and Android devices. But personally, I think it’s the best Nokia news we’ve heard in some time.

More than anything, Nokia needs new blood to help it get back on track. The company still produces quality mobile hardware (when it can actually release things on time), but it’s held back its aging Symbian operating system which powers its current flagship devices, including the N8. MeeGo, Nokia’s next-generation mobile OS, has been talked about for some time, but it’s still unclear when it will actually make it to consumers.

Elop is expected to announce his new strategy for Nokia in London on February 11, only a few days before the beginning of the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona where many other major mobile industry announcements will be made.

According to the German Weekly, executive Mary McDowell, who’s in charge of its mobile phones unit, and markets unit manager Niklas Savander, will both be shown the door. Additionally, Elop may also boot Chief Development Officer Kai Oistamo and mobile solutions manager Tero Ojanpera. Elop is apparently seeking out replacements with software expertise — exactly what the company needs.

Elop, formerly head of Microsoft’s business division, replaced Nokia’s former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in September. Shortly after that, Nokia’s head of mobile solutions Anssi Vanjoki resigned, which may have resulted from being passed over for the CEO role.

Rumors that Nokia may be looking to strike a deal with Microsoft to get Windows Phone 7 on its devices are increasing as we approach Mobile World Congress (something we’ve been reporting for some time). The move would be a big shift for the company, but it’s likely a necessary one as Nokia needs a modern OS on its devices now, instead of just vague promises. Nokia just recently dedicated a new office building in Silicon Valley, where Chief Technology Officer Rich Green (another recent hire) said good things are on the horizon.

New executive blood could revitalize Nokia — especially if paired with a major announcement like a shift to Windows Phone 7 or Android. Such a move would likely only be a stopgap solution until MeeGo is ready, but the company desperately needs something other than Symbian in its phones to get consumers excited once again.


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