Unsettling Times at NSN

8:00 AM -- Following Reuters' report late last week that Nokia Networks is looking to replace CEO Rajeev Suri, parent company Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), as well as NSN, moved swiftly to deny the report. (See Euronews: NSN Denies 'New CEO' Report.)

NSN parent Nokia dismissed the CEO-replacement speculation here, with Reuters quoting a Nokia spokesman as saying, "This is complete rubbish."

And NSN spokesman Ben Roome, in an emailed response to questions from Light Reading, reiterated that NSN Executive Chairman Jesper Ovesen has stated that "the Nokia Siemens Networks Board of Directors has full confidence in Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri." (See NSN Gets $1.36B & New Leader.)

Although rejected by NSN, the speculation comes at a difficult time for the company, which is undergoing a major restructuring that involves 17,000 job cuts and product portfolio streamlining. The upheaval at the company has only just begun, and the process won't be helped by rampant uncertainty about NSN's leadership. The company needs to be clear about its management structure, one way or another, so that employees, customers and partners all know who is in charge of the "new" NSN. (See NSN to Cut 17,000 Staff, 2011 Top Ten: NSN's Amazing Year and Euronews: Finns to Bear Brunt of NSN Cuts?)

NSN's Roome also offered some context around the first Reuters story, which attributed the comments about a new CEO search to Siemens supervisory board member Sibylle Wankel, who represents the IG metall trade union. He pointed out that on Wednesday last week, the IG metall union was protesting outside NSN's offices in Munich over its planned closure. (See NSN to Cut 2,900 Jobs in Germany.)

It's unclear what Wankel actually said originally in German, though, which opens the possibility that the meaning of her comment may have been lost in translation.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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