The world’s largest mobile phone maker, Nokia, has appointed top Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as its new President and CEO as the company looks to capture the leading position in the highly competitive smart phone market.
Mr. Elop, who is Microsoft’s Business Division Head, will takeover the reins of Nokia from incumbent Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo on September 21, the Finnish company said on Friday.
A Canadian, Mr. Elop would be the first non-Finnish person to head the world’s largest cellphone manufacturer.
Nokia, which has a strong presence in emerging markets such as India and China, continues to lag behind in the smart phone market, which is dominated by Apple.
Not only Apple’s high-end offerings, but also handsets with Google’s Android software, as well as Taiwan-based HTC, are posing stiff competition for Nokia. Interestingly, HTC makes use of both Android and Microsoft software for its handsets.
The Finnish entity is yet to have a smart phone offering that has mass appeal like many of its competitors.
Experts also feel that Nokia has been slow not only in coming out with phones having the latest version of its once-famed Symbian operating system, but also in catching up with touch-screen technology.
“The time is right to accelerate the company’s renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success,” Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila said in a statement.
According to Mr. Ollila, Mr. Elop’s strong software background and proven record in change management would be valuable assets Nokia will use to complete its transformation.
Apart from Microsoft, Mr. Elop had also served at senior executive positions at Juniper Networks, Adobe Systems and Macromedia. He holds a computer engineering and management degree.