Helsinki: Nokia’s Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri will leave the telecom equipment provider in September, Nokia announced on Monday. He will be replaced by the head of Finnish energy group Fortum, Pekka Lundmark, who will take over on September 1.
Suri said he wanted to do “something different” after having spent 25 years at Nokia.
Suri, who has been Nokia’s president and CEO since April 2014, had “indicated earlier to the board that he was considering stepping down from his role at some point in the future, provided a solid succession plan was in place,” the company said.
Suri’s successor Lundmark has held various executive positions at Nokia, including vice president of strategy and business development at Nokia Networks from 1990-2000. Afterwards he served as CEO of Konecranes, a global leader in material-handling technology.
At Monday’s press conference Lundmark said he also had “extensive experience in China—a market which Nokia last year announced it was backing away from in the light of growing support there for local vendors.
Nokia remade itself as a 5G network systems company since its mobile phone business was wiped out by Apple and Samsung a few years into the introduction of smartphones.
Suri had been behind Nokia’s change in strategy and led its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and created a standalone software business, apart from bringing the brand back into mobile phones.
Apart from mobile technology, Suri also oversaw the launch of ‘internet of things’ products that played a role in modernising sectors such as agriculture and logistics with soil sensors and tracking systems..
However Nokia’s attempts to break into the 5G equipment market have faltered in the face of fierce competition from Huawei and Ericsson.
Last year Nokia downgraded its 2020 earnings forecast, while chief executive Suri played down the firm’s delays in delivering some equipment orders. Yet, Nokia went on to beat expectations in a “challenging” 2019 and last month posted its first full-year net profit since 2015 of 7.0 million euros, and an operating profit of 2.0 billion euros.
At Monday’s press conference, Suri defended his record, saying that when he took over as CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks in 2009, the year’s operating profit was 28 million euros. “I’m not entirely satisfied with last year but we still had 2 billion compared to that 28 million,” he said.