Approximately half of the executive board at mobile phone maker Nokia may be out of a job later this week, as new CEO Stephen Elop scrambles to reverse the company's falling revenue and declining market share. At least, that's the news coming out of The Wall Street Journal, citing "a person familiar with the situation," which has led to all manner of speculation about who might be on the way out and who might be coming in.
The past year has not been a good one for Nokia. Its last quarterly earnings report showed revenue down 16% from a year earlier, and the company estimates its global market share fell 4% to 31% of mobile phones sold at a time when competitors like Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform have surged. Nokia's Symbian smartphone technology has yet to offer any exciting innovations to reverse that trend. In fact, rumors are flying that Nokia will soon announce a partnership with Microsoft -- which needs a partner to regain its pace in the smartphone wars after launching its well-received Windows Phone 7 smartphone technology.
Finally, Nokia closed the book on the Comes With Music mobile music service, which launched amid much fanfare two years ago but struggled to gain traction in top-tier music markets -- and never even made its much-promised U.S. debut. The company will continue to support the service in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America but shutter it in 27 other countries.
According to the WSJ report, Elop has hired headhunters to find new executives to run the operating system division and a new head of research and development. (An interesting AllThingsD post shows how Nokia spends five times more than Apple on research and development).
Elop, a former Microsoft exec, is the first foreigner to lead the Finnish company, and may extend that trend when bringing in new people. Expected to be shown the door are:
- Mary McDowell: executive VP of mobile phones
- Niklas Savander: executive VP of markets
- Tero Ojanpera: executive VP of services an mobile solutions (and head of all content initiatives)
- Kai Oistamo: executive VP and chief development officer
The final decisions won't be made public until Friday, when Nokia is scheduled to brief investors on its new strategy. Should the axe fall, it would be only the latest in a string of high-profile changes at Nokia. Elop replaced CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in September; head smartphone exec Anssi Vanjoki left the same month. And Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila has already announced his intention to step down next year.