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Nokia names Rajeev Suri as CEO post sale of its handset business

MUMBAI: Finnish firm Nokia has named Rajeev Suri as the new president and chief executive officer to chart the company’s future and revive growth after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft Corp. The appointment is effective from 1 May 2014.

The appointment ends the search for a replacement for Stephen Elop who returned to Microsoft with the sale of Nokia’s handset unit.

Following the sale of substantially all of its devices and services business to Microsoft, Nokia now aims to be a leader in technologies, which is gradually gaining importance in a connected world. It will now build on its three strong businesses in networks, location and technologies.

Announcing the appointment, Nokia board of directors chairman Risto Siilasmaa said, “As Nokia opens this new chapter, the Nokia board and I are confident that Rajeev is the right person to lead the company forward. He has a proven ability to create strategic clarity, drive innovation and growth, ensure disciplined execution, and deliver results. We believe that his passion for technology will help ensure that Nokia continues to deliver innovations that have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Suri joined Nokia in 1995 and has held a wide range of leadership positions in the company. Since October 2009, he has served as CEO of NSN, the former joint venture between Nokia and Siemens that is now fully owned by Nokia. During his tenure as CEO, the business went through a radical transformation to become one of the leaders in the telecommunications infrastructure industry.

Suri added, “I am honoured to have been asked to take this role, and excited about the possibilities that lie in our future. Nokia, with its deep experience in connecting people and its three strong businesses, is well positioned to tap new opportunities during this time of technological change. I look forward to working with the entire Nokia team as we embark on this exciting journey.”

Siilasmaa, who has also been serving as an interim CEO, will now return to focus exclusively on his role as Nokia’s board of directors’ chairman from 1 May 2014.

Nokia believes that over the next 10 years, billions of connected devices will converge into intelligent programmable systems that will have the potential to improve lives in a vast number of areas like time and availability, transportation and resource consumption, learning and work, health and wellness and more.

The company aims to be a leader in these areas through connectivity capable of handling a large number of devices, seamless location services and innovation in technologies.

“With our three strong businesses—Networks, Here and Technologies—and position as one of the world’s largest software companies, we are well placed to meet our goal to be a leader in the technologies for a world where everybody and everything is connected,” stated Suri.

Through its Networks business (formerly Nokia Solutions and Networks, or NSN), Nokia will invest in innovative products and services needed by telecom operators to manage the increase in wireless data traffic. Future investment will focus on further building on their position in mobile broadband and related services, and strengthening its position in next-generation network technologies.

Through its Here business, Nokia will invest to further develop its location cloud to make it the leading source of location intelligence and experiences across many different operating systems, platforms and screens.

And through its Technologies business, the company will invest in the further development of its innovation portfolio.

To improve the efficiency of Nokia’s capital structure, the Nokia board is also announcing plans for a $6.9 billion capital structure optimisation programme which focuses on recommencing ordinary dividends, distributing deemed excess capital to shareholders, and reducing interest bearing debt.

Current Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila who will serve as the group CFO from 1 May stated, “We are committed to effective deployment of capital to drive future value creation. We believe our planned comprehensive EUR 5 billion capital structure optimisation programme enables Nokia to make quick and orderly progress towards a more efficient capital structure, and is aligned with the long-term interests of our customers and shareholders.”