More changes at Nokia as smartphone head quits

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Following the appointment of Stephen Elop as CEO, Nokia's head of mobile solutions Anssi Vanjoki has resigned after just six weeks in the job.

Vanjoki took over the role at the beginning of July, calling it "one of the most exciting jobs in the business". He was in charge of the company's high-end phones and services, the area in which the company has been performing most poorly.

"I am committed, perhaps even obsessed, with getting Nokia back to being number one in high-end devices," he said at the time.

He had worked for the company since 1991, gaining a place on the board in 1998, but will now leave after working out a six-month notice period.

The move comes just three days after the appointment of new CEO Stephen Elop, replacing Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. At one point, Vanjoki was being tipped as a possible replacement, but was presumably seen as belonging too much to the company's old guard.

The odds are that further changes will be on the way.

"I assume that Anssi was one of the internal candidates considered for the CEO job, and as he wasn’t appointed now feels his position is not tenable," says Gartner analyst Nick Jones.

"In the webcast that announced Steve’s appointment, Jorma Olilla said that several internal and external candidates had been considered, so there may be more resignations to come. This is an area I will watch closely because Steve’s re-organisations and appointments over the next few months will give us the first clues about the type of company Nokia will become."

Nokia has continued to struggle in the North American market. After two profit warnings, its stock has fallen by a fifth over the last year, leading to heavy criticism from investors. It's forecast that its market share is likely to fall further this year.
 
The problem is mainly seen as being the company's Symbian operating system, which wasn't initially designed for touch-screen phones and trails feebly behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

Although it's doing very respectably internationally, it has a US market share in single figures, compared with Apple's 56 percent and Android's 25 percent.

And Nokia has been left increasingly isolated as other vendors have jumped ship to Android. It's possible that the management changes could signal the Nokia is considering doing the same.