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Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO

In an effort to revive its fortunes, Nokia Networks is replacing incumbent CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie with one of his current understudies, Rajeev Suri, the vendor announced early Tuesday. (See NSN Names New CEO.)

Beresford-Wylie has been CEO since NSN opened its doors for business in April 2007. (See Nokia Siemens Opens on a Downer.)

Since then he has seen the company through the challenges of a major merger, an increasingly competitive market, and a global economic downturn that has impeded carrier spending plans. (See Slump Slams Nokia Siemens , Ericsson, NSN Brace for Chinese Price Wars, Nokia Siemens Dips in Q4, Nokia Siemens Braced for Tough 2009, NSN's Big Squeeze, Nokia Siemens CEO Slams 'Silly Pricing', and Nokia Siemens Gets Ruthless on R&D Focus.)

Even while presiding over headcount and portfolio cutbacks, Beresford-Wylie has been looking for new growth opportunities and brokering and cementing partnerships. (See NSN, Juniper Converge IP & Optical, NSN: Alvarion's New WiMax Buddy, Nokia Siemens Bags OSS Smarts , Nokia Siemens Dumps on GPON, Nokia Siemens Snaps Up IMS Vendor, NSN Products Face Further Cuts, and NSN Improves, Confirms Extra Cuts.)

Unfortunately for him, though, NSN lost out in its bid to buy part of Nortel Networks Ltd. 's mobile business, a move that would have boosted its lackluster North American business. (See Ericsson Delivers Knockout Blow to NSN.)

In the official announcement today, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who is also chairman of NSN, noted that a succession process had been underway since "Simon shared his desire to depart at the appropriate time. That process has made it clear that Rajeev brings the right values, experience and industry expertise to take Nokia Siemens Networks forward."

So now it's 41-year-old Suri's turn to take on the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. . (See Huawei Closes In on Rivals.)

Suri is currently head of the company's Services division, which, if current trends continue, is on course to generate half of the vendor's quarterly revenues in the near future. (See Services Now 45% of NSN Revenues, NSN Sees Managed Services as $277B Market, and The Substance of 'Hollow Operators'.)

Suri recently outlined his services strategy in an exclusive interview with Light Reading. (See NSN Services Chief: Huawei's Years Behind.)

Now the pressure is on Suri to repeat his success across the whole company when he slides into the CEO chair on October 1. He will relocate from his current base near New Delhi in India to Espoo in Finland. A spokesman for NSN said he couldn't comment on whether Suri's appointment would herald a change in strategy. "He will be building on the foundations laid by Simon," says the spokesman.

Beresford-Wylie will remain with NSN until November 1, after which he is moving to a new job in "another industry," says the NSN spokesman, who adds that details of his new appointment would be revealed in the future by Beresford-Wylie's new employer.

NSN's move means that three of the world's largest telecom equipment vendors -- Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and NSN -- have all appointed new CEOs during the past 13 months. (See Ericsson Names New CEO and Verwaayen Takes the Helm at AlcaLu.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 3:57:24 PM
re: Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO

There will clearly be a school of thought that believes NSN needs a new CEO to help take it out of the post-merger restructuring and give it a new injection of ideas at the top.


Except, of course, Suri was already pretty close to the top, and NSN strategy is heavily influenced by its parent companies, especially Nokia, so it could be argued that only a change in Nokia chairman and/or CEO positions would lead to any significant change at NSN.


So, will anything change?


And is Suri the right man for the job?

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 3:57:18 PM
re: Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO

I’d expect Nokia to spin-off NSN at some point.

 Agree? Any bets on when?

James_B_Crawshaw 12/5/2012 | 3:57:17 PM
re: Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO

After an uninspiring 10 year JV with Fujitsu in PCs, Siemens sold out to Fujitsu earlier this year for €450m.


I think a sale of Siemens' stake to Nokia is more likely than a spin out of NSN.


Having said that, Siemens has had a JV with Bosch in household appliances since 1967. It generated revenue of €9bn last year and is the world's 3rd largest household appliances vendor. Some marriages are meant to last.

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