& cplSiteName &

Nokia CEO Must Channel Fighting Spirit

Susan Fourtané
News Analysis
Susan Fourtané
5/13/2014
50%
50%

HELSINKI, Finland -- Rajeev Suri, the new CEO of Nokia, must channel the Finnish fighting spirit embedded in the vendor's culture if he is to successfully reinvent the vendor, according to experienced Nokia-watchers.

Following the sale of its handsets division and the unveiling of a new corporate plan, Light Reading contacted a number of individuals who have tracked and analyzed Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) for years to ask them what they think of the company's new strategy and the appointment of Suri. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name and Rajeev Suri: The Right Choice for Nokia.)

Tomi Ahonen, former Nokia executive, industry analyst, author, speaker, and rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in 2011, said there is a Finnish fighting spirit more evident in the more experienced staff in the Networks division (formerly NSN) than in the younger handset team that is now part of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). (See Microsoft Officially Closes Nokia Buy and Microsoft's Elop Denies He Was a Trojan Horse .)

"The Finnish employees of NSN/Nokia today will be heroic in their willingness to sacrifice," believes Ahonen, as they will be driven by a key rivalry. "Now, again, the number one rival is not Korean -- Samsung -- or American -- Apple. It's those Swedes from Ericsson!" added Ahonen, who predicted the demise of the Finnish giant's handsets business in 2011 in his First Analysis of Nokia-Microsoft Alliance.

Ahonen believes Suri is an excellent choice, and predicts that in a year or two there will be good news coming from Nokia.

Rajeev Suri: Can he channel his inner Finn?
Rajeev Suri: Can he channel his inner Finn?

Peter Vesterbacka, CMO at Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment Ltd., agrees with Ahonen. "I think they have a great future and Rajeev is the right guy for the job."

And Suri's experience during recent years will work in his favor, believes Karri Anttila, editor at industry blog AndroidSuomi (AndroidFinland). "I think he [Suri] is a good choice in a way he knows the company and has been working there for years. He has been leading the money making part of the old Nokia and knows the networks business."

Anttila, though, wonders if Suri can adapt to running the broader Nokia business that includes mapping and locations application unit HERE and the licensing unit called Technologies, and help those units (as well as the Networks business) develop further.

And Markus Leikola, a writer and columnist with political and financial columns in a leading daily and weekly newspapers in Finland, and a weekly radio show on YLE Puhe, questions whether Nokia now has a corporate culture that will encourage change and innovation. Nokia has a history of reinventing itself, he notes, and since its decision to focus on mobile in the early 1990s became known for pioneering the concept of reshaping consumer segments annually, combining frontline marketing with even more rapid R&D, and pushing manufacturing costs constantly down.

Leikola wonders how much of that culture remains in the company, as not only are there "new faces" among the "top brass," there has also been "a major sweep in the middle management, too."

Undeniably there are fewer Finns among the company's directors, and Leikola wonders how the Nokia board should be oriented now that the company has changed so radically. "How should it be different [beyond] just the nationality dimension of the governors?"

Paolo Borella, a former Nokia employee and a director at apps developer funding and training specialist AppCampus, believes the main consideration has to be whether the CEO is the right person to develop the vision of the board. "It doesn't make any difference where the person comes from. As a foreigner living in Finland, and considering Nokia one of the big telco players in the world, what's wrong with a foreigner leading a global company?"

Borella believes Suri is the right leader for Nokia, and that Nokia has a good base, focus, and the requisite liquidity to be able to make strategic investments. "It's good to see that Nokia has made bold decisions, preparing for actions in the future."

— Susan Fourtané, special to Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/14/2014 | 3:48:44 PM
Re: Skeptical
I would like to see a strategy for turning the company around. Focusing on location services is a start. But is it enough?

It might be. Someone said recently that maps are the new search -- meaning that the billions that Google made on advertising against searches are available to a smart company that figures out how to combine marketing services with location services. 

 
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
5/14/2014 | 1:49:38 AM
Re: Skeptical
Mitch, 

Of course fighting spirit alone won't do anything. It's not fighting, it's more about not giving up and do the best you can with what it's left.That's for motivation. Give it some time. 

What would you like to see? 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
5/13/2014 | 2:42:44 PM
Re: Suri is HERE
Thanks, Sarah.  

Your thinking is in alignment with the opinions I have collected. He seems to have the necessary qualities for taking HERE and Technologies to the next level. 

-Susan 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/13/2014 | 2:15:02 PM
Skeptical
I'm not seeing anything here that leads me to believe Nokia has a plan for turning around. Fighting spirit alone won't do it -- plenty of nations and ethnic groups have that. 
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/13/2014 | 1:31:40 PM
Re: Nokia
@Susan That sounds promising. 
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
5/13/2014 | 1:28:00 PM
Re: Nokia
Hi, Ariella

Yes, I do. I had a very good impression of Rajeev Suri during his first press conference. One of the things people seem to like the most is that he has been working for Nokia for almost 20 years, and his previous achievements. He also has a good personality and character, which is also important in a leader to complement his professional knowledge. 

-Susan 
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
5/13/2014 | 12:15:13 PM
Suri is HERE
Interesting, insider's look at Nokia. Thanks, Susan. I agree that Suri was the best choice for the job, but his biggest challenge will be in making something more of the HERE business. His strengths are in infrastruture. But, so far, he's shown he's making moves to do just that.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/13/2014 | 8:38:37 AM
Nokia
Hi, Susan, do you share the optimisim expressed about Nokia? 
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Private Company of the Year - Affirmed Networks

6|27|16   |     |   (0) comments


At BCE 2016, Steve Saunders speaks to Hassan Ahmed about Affirmed's success.
LRTV Custom TV
Energy 2020: Growing Services, Not Consumption

6|24|16   |   07:18   |   (0) comments


Management of power requirements needs to be a key consideration as cable operators deploy new services, says Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee. In this video, Cooper discusses the importance of cable operators and technology partners ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei & TDC First to Launch DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Europe

6|24|16   |     |   (0) comments


To meet the rising demands for high-speed broadband and to tackle fierce competition for 1.5 million household, TDC wanted to upgrade its network to use the latest technology. Using Huawei's DOCSIS 3.1 solution, TDC is now able to offer gigabit speeds to its customers.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

6|22|16   |   03:28   |   (0) comments


MANO shortfalls, an increasingly bloated open source ecosystem and the cultural challenges for network operators were among the key takeaways from the OPNFV Summit in Berlin.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bringing Ultra Broadband to the South Pacific

6|22|16   |   7:55   |   (0) comments


At Singapore's UBBS 2016 summit, Light Reading speaks to Lim Chee Siong, Huawei's CMO in the South Pacific Region.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper's NFV Platform

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


A telco cloud is a key enabler for service providers to deliver virtualized services to their customers. Juniper has a differentiated approach with an open and comprehensive NFV platform to build the cloud of the future for multiple use cases.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera: The Glass Ceiling's Been Broken

6|22|16   |   4:34   |   (0) comments


Shannon Williams, an engineer by trade and now the director of sales for Infinera's major accounts, draws confidence from being a female in a male-dominated industry and hopes other women will too as industry dynamics swing in our favor.
LRTV Custom TV
RAD Demonstrates SD-WAN Functionality at BCE 2016

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


In conjunction with Versa Networks, RAD demos a joint solution for SD-WAN implementation. The solution uses RAD's ETX-2i, a vCPE platform integrating a powerful IP and Carrier Ethernet NID/NTU with a field-pluggable x86 NFV module that runs Versa's FlexVNF for SD-WAN functionality. The demo implements SD-WAN over a simulated service provider footprint by deploying ...
LRTV Custom TV
Radware on Virtualizing Network Security

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


Radware's Michael O'Malley highlights the benefits for service providers of virtualizing network security.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei 2016 UBBS World Tour: Singapore

6|21|16   |   02:39   |   (0) comments


Highlights from Huawei's UBBS World Tour event in Singapore.
LRTV Custom TV
The FlowBROKER Solution

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


During a demo at the Big Communications Event 2016, Accedian director of product line solutions Greg Spear demonstrates how the FlowBROKER distributed packet capture solution (part of Accedian's SkyLIGHT platform) can be used to troubleshoot and resolve QoE issues.

FlowBROKER is the industry's first lossless remote packet capture solution, which uses ...

LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: Dell & the New World Order

6|21|16   |   22:48   |   (0) comments


Dell's Jim Ganthier on how the very essence of enterprise is being affected by digital disruption – and how the cloud can help companies find a path forward.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/24/2016
AT&T Settles on LTE for Cellular IoT
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/22/2016
Google Fiber Buys Webpass in Wireless Play
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/23/2016
Netflix Queues Up Video Downloads
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2016
AWS CEO: Enterprise Data Center Is Doomed
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/21/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
At the BCE 2016 show in Austin, ECI Telecom CEO Darryl Edwards tells Light Reading founder and CEO about the Elastic Network concept and the company's NFV and cybersecurity developments.
Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE, sits down with Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York office to discuss the society's Energy 2020 campaign, including its mission to benefit the environment, enable economic benefits and the key challenges facing cable operators wanting to reduce energy consumption.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.