Nokia’s Troubles Deepen, Key Exec Resigns

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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