Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop is stepping into a new role as CEO of Nokia, which seeks to compete more aggressively in the U.S. market against the likes of Apple iPhone and Android.
Stephen Elop, Microsoft Business
Division president, is stepping down to take the CEO
reins at Nokia. According to a note on the phone maker's Website, Elop will
assume his new position Sept. 21. His resignation from Microsoft, where he
spearheaded the release of Office 2010, is effective
Nokia's current president and CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo,
will step down Sept. 20.
"I am writing to let you know that Stephen Elop has been
offered and has accepted the job as CEO of Nokia and will be leaving
CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a Sept. 9 e-mail to company employees
leaves in place a strong business and technical leadership team, including
Chris Capossela, Kurt DelBene, Amy Hood and Kirill Tatarinov, all of whom will
report to me for the interim."
Ballmer added: "I appreciate the way that Stephen has been a
good steward of the brand and business in his time here, and look forward to
continuing to work with him in his new role at Nokia."
partnership with Nokia extends back to August 2009
, when the two companies
announced that mobile versions of Microsoft Office would be preloaded onto
Nokia smartphones, followed in time by other applications such as Microsoft
SharePoint. Nokia had also begun work on optimizing Microsoft Exchange
ActiveSync for its devices, allowing more streamlined direct access to e-mail
and personal information.
But the two companies' smartphone operating systems also
compete on the broader market. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 reached its
release-to-manufacturing milestone Sept. 1, with
the first devices widely expected to hit the market in either October or
. Nokia is also apparently prepping new smartphones for release
this fall, including
the Nokia N8
Despite its strong international position, though, Nokia
never managed to gain a beachhead in the United States that would allow it to
seriously challenge the Apple iPhone or Google Android, considered the top two
franchises in this country's consumer smartphone space. A September research
note from IDC
suggested that Nokia's share would continue to dip through 2014
, even as
the company maintained its position as the world's No. 1 smartphone
"I am extremely excited to become part of a team dedicated
to strengthening Nokia's position," Elop wrote in a Sept. 10 statement. "I am
confident that together we can continue to deliver innovative products that
meet the needs of consumers."
Nokia's own statement hinted that Elop will be driving a
"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 the company's success," Jorma Ollila, chairperson of the Nokia Board
of Directors, wrote in that Sept. 10 missive. "The Nokia Board believes that
Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to realize the
full potential of Nokia."
In addition to Microsoft, Elop has also held positions at
Adobe, Juniper Networks and Macromedia.