updated 08:40 pm EDT, Mon July 19, 2010
Nokia unhappy with Kallasvuo in light of iPhone
Nokia is now looking for a replacement for its CEO, insiders said tonight [reg. required]. The sources for the WSJ didn't have many details but implied that the company was heeding complaints from shareholders that company leader Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo should resign. Executives are reportedly "serious about making a change" and could force a move by the end of July.
A CEO for a "major" American technology firm was supposedly approached, but turned down the offer as he didn't want to move to Nokia's Espoo, Finland headquarters. At least one other American was approached.
Nokia declined to comment.
The leader has been under increasing pressure in the past few months as he has been criticized for allowing market share share to slide in Europe and around the world. Most of the losses have been in the smartphone arena, where Nokia has characteristically been late to adapt to trends: after the iPhone's release, it didn't have a modern touchscreen phone until a year and a half later with the 5800, and won't have multi-touch until the N8 in August. Its Comes With Music unlimited service, free Ovi Maps and the unified, approval-based Ovi Store are also believed to be reactions to strategies already adopted by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform.
Kallasvuo has also repeatedly promised to restore his company's presence in the US but has only seen it decline to where it has virtually no presence in US smartphones and a dwindling share of conventional phones.
Analysts and shareholders have accused Nokia of sheltering Kallasvuo, changing company structure twice and shuffling executives but never questioning its CEO's position. Calls have been made for an unconventional choice, possibly outside of Finland, to shake up a company that now bases most of its business on low-cost phones and an increasing amount on the developing world.