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Nokia boss 'plans Great Purge'

De-Finnification of the leadership

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Stephen Elop wants to purge Nokia's Executive Board, with some key executives leaving the company, reports German weekly WirthschaftsWoche. Up to half of the nine Board appointees will leave or be replaced, reports the weekly, representing a "De-Finnification" of the company's leadership.

The German report suggests that EVP of markets Niklas Savander, chief development officer Kai Öistämö, services chief Tero Ojanperä, and enterprise chief Mary McDowell will be replaced – with Savander and McDowell leaving the company. Veteran Alberto Torres, the Venezuelan-born McKinseyite currently midwifing Meego, will survive the Great Purge. Finance and administration will remain in Finnish hands.

Other reports suggest the new structure will be presented to executives on Thursday, ahead of Friday's analyst meeting – which Nokia has already said will usher in a new strategy.

Elop has already created an executive board post for Jerri DeVard, whose experience includes consumer marketing for Revlon, Pepsi, Citibank and the group now known as Caesar's Palace, Hurrah's.

It's no surprise to hear Ojanpera and McDowell's names on the hit list. McDowell joined in 2004 yet Nokia's lack of headway in the enterprise, despite its technological and logistical advantages, is one of its major failures. Ojanpera is a radio engineer given the job of a Hollywood mogul, with responsibility for music, video, TV games, software and social networking software and partnerships. All have been major Nokia underachievements. But Savander's inclusion is a surprise. It suggests Elop wants a shift as radical as Nokia's fiercest critics have recommended.

Nokia has retained headhunters to replace senior management with successors who are better adept at software, reports suggest.

Dan Steinbock's book Winning Across Global Markets (2010) notes that "CEO Kallasvuo launched his own dream team in early 2008 ... the core members were Anssi Vanjoki, Kai Öistämö, Niklas Savander, Richard Simonson and Mary McDowell. If reports are accurate, OPK's core management team will have been completely dismantled, after the purge. ®

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