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Symbian CEO to quit

Levin off to run £747m-turnover United Business Media

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Symbian CEO David Levin is to leave the company to join publishing and media group United Business Media (UBM), it was announced last night.

Levin will continue running Symbian until March 2005, the operating system supplier said. He joined the company in April 2002, moving over from Symbian's former parent, Psion, where he was Chief Executive, a position he had held since February 1999.

Before Psion, he spent five years as COO of Euromoney Institutional Investor, an international business publishing group, so he clearly has a handle on the industry he is moving into through UBM.

Lord Hollick, who Levin will replace at UBM, commended the Symbian CEO's "impressive operational background" and "track record of strong strategic execution".

"Under David's leadership, Symbian has strengthened and matured into the world's leading mobile operating system software company whose Symbian OS technology has been successfully adopted by the world's foremost handset manufacturers and network operators," said Sir Peter Gershon, Symbian's non-executive Chairman, in a statement.

Symbian's board now has to go through the process of seeking a successor. The winning candidate will have to satisfy the desires of the company's mobile phone maker shareholders, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Siemens, Samsung and Panasonic. Other major stakeholders include Ericsson.

Earlier this year, Nokia moved to take control of Symbian by acquiring Psion's share in the company. In the end, in July, the other shareholders moved to limit Nokia's holding to 47.9 per cent of the company. Nokia's ambitions and the other companies' desire to rein the Finnish giant in are likely to make for an interesting recruitment process.

In the three months to 30 September 2004, some 3.7m Symbian-based handsets shipped worldwide, up from 1.2m in the year-ago quarter, and taking the installed base to 19.2m. At the end of the quarter 38 Symbian OS phones and variants were under development by ten Symbian OS licensees.

Symbian recorded £16.3 in unaudited turnover during Q3, up from £9.4m in Q3 2003 and £13.7m in Q2 2004. ®

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