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Summary:

Only four months after a restructure put Anssi Vanjoki in charge of Nokia’s Mobile Solutions, he resigned today from Nokia, giving six months notice. With Nokia World starting tomorrow, this is big blow to the company. Don’t be surprised by few more executive exits.

vanjoki

Only four months after the last Nokia restructure put him in his current role, Anssi Vanjoki, executive VP and head of Mobile Solutions, has resigned from Nokia, giving six months’ notice. In a statement today, Vanjoki said “the time has come to seek new opportunities in my life.” For now, Vanjoki will continue to run Nokia’s Mobile Solutions division, which is responsible for products such as netbooks and high-end smartphones such as the Nokia N8.

Vanjoki’s notice of resignation follows just days after Nokia’s President and CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was ousted in favor of Microsoft’s Stephen Elop. Such high-profile management changes come at a curious time, as Nokia is hosting it’s annual Nokia World event in London, England this very week. Furthermore, these two recent senior management changes may not be the last ones we hear about this week.

Vanjoki is a well-loved executive within Nokia, and his exit is going to prove to be more demoralizing for the rank-and-file. His decision to quit could be in response to being passed over for the top job at Nokia, a positions that previously seemed well within his reach.

Indeed, when I wrote about what to expect from Nokia World, I mentioned that there could be some surprises, although Vanjoki’s resignation surely wasn’t one I planned for.

I expect we’ll hear more this week about Vanjoki’s resignation, not to mention new product announcements that are likely to come from the Mobile Solutions group he runs. Aside from new smartphones and improved Ovi services, I suspect Nokia will project an overall feeling of change and expediency for its future strategies. The company can’t skate to where the puck will be if it keeps using the same old skates, as it were, so fresher, hungrier and faster leadership is needed. Nothing against Kallasvuo and Vanjoki, but “new blood” at Nokia is a good start because the smartphone market is growing faster than the low- to mid-end handset market that Nokia currently dominates.

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  1. Good Update! That’s really gotta hurt the Nokia empire, not only did they lose one of their top officials, but they also lost an important asset.

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  2. “His decision to quit could be in response to being passed over for the top job at Nokia, a positions that previously seemed well within his reach.”

    Well, yes. I think that’s all there is too it. I would also point out that if he’d resigned after Nokia World that would be incredibly bad PR. This isn’t great timing but it had to be today.

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    1. I agree with you on this one Mark. I think this is a big blow to the company. Having known Anssi for a long time, I think Nokia lost one of its more daring executives, someone who could have been great as a CEO. Oh well..

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      1. Loss of Anssi is surely a big blow for Nokia, but looking at the positive side of things, it may be a blessing in disguise for Nokia.

        The last things Nokia wants at this stage is “continuity of past strategies”. I have some research on CMO succession and this stream of research suggests that insider successors are more likely to continue with existing strategies and are less likely to make dramatic shifts in strategies.

        Nokia probably needs a fresh perspective and the new CEO (an external successor) may just provide that. Nokia needs to make some radical changes in its strategy and adopting Android may be one of them.

        Whatever the case, it would be nice to see Nokia rise up to the challenge!!

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  3. heck, it’s these fellas who presided over Nokia’s decline & overpriced purchase of Navteq. they’ve tried to produce high end devices and popularize Nokia mobile services and failed. it’s time for new thinking. hope the new guy can make Nokia more in tune with users/customers and developers.

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  4. how can someone that has not kept pace with the smartphone market be missed?

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  5. I would have to disagree with you here. I know few people who work at Nokia, Finland. Granted most of them are just “normal” people and not exec, but even they agree that Nokia’s problem now is top management.

    No matter how good their lower people are the top management seems to be pig-headed and arrogant. I don’t want to believe my friends, but I notice even in my home country, Malaysia the top people managing Nokia here all just act like big shots but not do much. They put like hundreds of billboards and sponsor tons of events to “promote” their comes with Music, but when I was working part time at a Carrier, everyone who came in looking for a phone kept asking me what is comes with music. It is like a total fail in marketing. Also, when I meet one of the “managers” in real life, she was acting all snobbish like she doesn’t have time for “normal” people. So basically, by seeing how the managers behave in my country I think I believe some of my friends from Finland when they tell me that most of the managers got attitude problem. Yes I know it is generalization but most of them are like this.

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  6. I don’t think at all that Vanjoki is quitting because he didn’t get CEO’s position. He is quitting because the company is going the path, which he is not agree to follow. And he shouldn’t be afraid for his future for a second. People with his skills are constantly wanted at thousands of international companies and, as you can imagine, are highly paid.

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  7. Nokia has been in decline for many years now. When I was at Visto (now Good Technology) after the acquisition of Trekmail (we had a voice email service back in 2001), I spent a lot of time working with Nokia’s high end handsets.

    It was obvious then that Symbian was crap, and that the handsets were full of bad design and user interface problems. It hasn’t gotten any better while Android has come along and defined what a smartphone platform should be.

    Unless Nokia is willing to give Symbian the “Old Yeller” treatment and start fresh, I don’t see how they will compete with HTC and company.

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  8. It’s sad that Nokia’s management gets blamed for its smartphone missteps.

    iPhone blew everyone out of the water with its multitouch interface. Nobody saw it coming. None of the other phone manufacturers saw it coming. Microsoft didn’t even see it coming.

    Here we are blaming Nokia for something that nobody foresaw (except Steve Jobs).

    Nokia is betting on MeeGo. Because it is very open, MeeGo may actually work, when more closed phone platforms have failed.

    A sudden management change now could force Nokia down the Android path. I can see the logic of the previous Nokia management, who avoided Android because it commoditizes the hardware. Short term gains at the expense of the longer term.

    MeeGo gives Nokia control over its long-term destiny.

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  9. [...] At his last Nokia World event, Vanjoki unveiled the new phones and offered a run-through of features. The N8, introduced earlier this year, is dubbed an “entertainment powerhouse” with the large touchscreen and 12 megapixel camera and its mechanical shutter. In the only actual device demonstration of the morning, Vanjoki impressed the crowd by using an N8 with HDMI cable to show a high-definition movie trailer on the large stage displays. [...]

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  10. [...] to be another nail in Nokia’s coffin.The situation is more in line with recent comments from Nokia’s outgoing executive, Anssi Vanjoki, who last week said hardware makers adopting Android is akin to “Finnish boys [...]

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