Nokia has confirmed its CEO Rajeev Suri is stepping down from his position and will be replaced by Pekka Lundmark from September 1.
The Finnish networking giant said Suri had been considering his succession and had been willing to make way should there be a replacement in place. It added that a variety of internal and external candidates had been considered for the role.
However the news comes just days after Suri’s position had come under scrutiny from media and investors. The high cost of developing 5G technology and intense competition in the sector has resulted in the firm cutting its financial outlooks and pausing dividends in recent times.
New Nokia CEO
Shares had fallen by a third in the past year and there was pressure on Suri to act. A possible merger or sale of the company was even touted in some quarters last week.
Suri had spent a quarter of a decade at Nokia, rising to the top job following the sale of Nokia’s handset business to Microsoft in 2013. He also oversaw the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent which elevated Nokia alongside Ericsson and Huawei as part of the ‘big three’ in telecoms equipment.
“Nokia will always be part of me, and I want to thank everyone that I have worked with over the years for helping make Nokia a better place and me a better leader,” he said. “I leave the company with a belief that a return to better performance is on the horizon and with pride for what we have accomplished over time. Pekka is an excellent choice for Nokia. I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition and wish him the best success in his new role.”
Lundmark is currently CEO of Finnish-based energy company Fortum and is a Nokia alumnus. Between 1990 and 2000 he held several senior positions – including Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Nokia Networks.
“With the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent behind us and the world of 5G in front of us, I am pleased that Pekka has agreed to join Nokia,” said Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia Board Chair, who also thanked Suri for his service.
“He has a record of leadership and shareholder value creation at large business-to-business companies; deep experience in telecommunications networks, industrial digitization, and key markets such as the United States and China; and a focus on strategic clarity, operational excellence and strong financial performance.”
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead Nokia, an extraordinary company that has so much potential and so many talented people,” added Lundmark. “Together we can create shareholder value by delivering on Nokia’s mission to create the technology to connect the world. I am confident that the company is well-positioned for the 5G era and it is my goal to ensure that we meet our commitments to our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders.”