Nokia appoints a member of the Motley fixed network crew

New leaders often bring management refreshments, but rarely as many reversals as the latest regime change in Nokia. Including former CEO Rajeev Suri, seven top executives have now either fallen by the sword or have been fired from their positions in recent months (the full list is shown below).

For Pekka Lundmark, Nokia’s newest boss, the mission is to reduce the number of decision-makers who have seats in the global leadership team to just 11, out of 17 that Nokia had under Suri. We hope that this shooting will direct and simplify business. “Even in a fairly simple mobile access contract, five members are responsible for the job and that requires a lot of coordination,” Lundmark told analysts last week.

He has now almost completed meetings for his executive team. After recently appointing new recruit Nishanta Batru as chief strategy officer for technology and technology, the company confirmed this week that Sandra Motley, president of fixed networks, will lose her seat at the table. While Motley will continue to run the fixed network business, its unit will form part of a new network infrastructure group led by Federico Guilln, already confirmed as one of Lundmark ‘s 11.

New gang

With nine other seats now occupied, Nokia is still looking for an eleventh team member to fill a role that could likely be a corporate job. This means that Gabriela Styf Sjman and Bhaskar Gorti are likely to be excluded.

Syman’s job as chief strategic officer virtually disappeared with the appointment of Nishant Batra. She discussed her future at the company, a Nokia spokesman told Light Reading last week. It is not entirely unthinkable for her to take on the role of corporate affairs.

Table 1: Executive changes at Nokia

Name Role Status In a global leadership team?
Rajeev Suri Former CEO Left No.
Christian Pullola Former Chief Financial Officer Left No.
Pekka Lundmark Executive Director Confirmed Yes
Marco Wirn Chief Financial Officer Confirmed Yes
Nassib Abbou-Khalil Chief Legal Officer Confirmed Yes
Barry French Chief Marketing Officer Left No.
Gabriela Styf Sjman Former head of strategy In conversations Uncertain
Marcus Weldon Former head of technology Left No.
Nishant Batra Chief Officer for Strategy and Technology Confirmed Yes
Stephanie Werner-Dietz Chief Human Resources Officer Confirmed Yes
Tommy Uitto President of Mobile Networks Confirmed Yes
Sandra Motley President of fixed networks Appointed fixed network chief No.
Rahgav Sahgal President of Nokia Enterprise Appointed head of cloud and network services Yes
Jenny Lukander President of Nokia Technologies Confirmed Yes
Basil Alwan Co-Chair of IP / Optical Networks Taking on an advisory role No.
Sri Reddy Co-Chair of IP / Optical Networks Taking on an advisory role No.
Bhaskar Gorti President of Nokia Software and Chief Digital Officer Uncertain Uncertain
Sanjay Goel President of Global Services and Operations Left No.
Ricky Corker President of Customer Operations, America Appointed head of user experience Yes
Federico Guilln President of Customer Operations, EMEA and APAC Appointed head of network infrastructure Yes

Gorti is in a similar position as Motley. His software business has been introduced into a new cloud and network services unit to be run by Rahgav Sahgal, until now president of Nokia’s business. Like Motley, Gorty could settle for a less senior role, but that’s by no means certain.

Other members of the global leadership team, however, did not reach an agreement. Basil Alwan and Sri Reddy, co-chairs of the IP and optical networks business, will step down after their unit is absorbed into the network of Guill’s network infrastructure. However, they will continue to advise Nokia for most of 2021, the company announced this week. “Sri and I are committed to ensuring the smooth and uninterrupted continuation of service for our customers,” Alwan said in a prepared statement.

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Securing the services of two such respected industry executives should help reduce the disruption for Nokia, as Lundmark intervenes in a completely different form. It is thinning out sophisticated corporate functions by redirecting 14,000 of its employees to its new business groups: mobile network, network infrastructure, cloud services and a licensing unit (Nokia Technologies) that will continue as before.

Further job losses seem inevitable as Nokia tries to increase the profit margins suffered under previous management. The average number of employees in the company decreased by almost 4,800 positions last year, to 98,322. “Rationalization” and “simplification,” words Lundmark prominently used during last week’s discussion with analysts, are activities that are likely to impact the entire organization, not just Nokia’s global management team.

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Iain Morris, international editor, reading light