Ina Fried

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Could Executive Departures Accompany Nokia Strategy Shift?

Nokia is widely expected to announce some sort of strategy shift when CEO Stephen Elop meets with investors in London on Friday. A new report suggests, however, that several executive departures could also accompany the shift.

German weekly Wirtschaftswoche reported on Saturday that a number of executives may leave, citing company sources. According to a Reuters summary of the German article, among those who may depart are phone unit head Mary McDowell, markets unit manager Niklas Savander, chief development officer Kai Oistamo and services and solutions manager Tero Ojanpera.

Elop suggested on the company’s recent earnings call that a shift in strategy is needed for the company to better compete at the high end of the smartphone market and hinted the company might be open to adopting a new operating system such as Windows Phone or Android.

“The game has changed from battle of devices to war of ecosystems,” Elop said on last month’s earnings conference call, adding later that “Our industry has changed and we have to change faster.”

Until now, Nokia’s strategy has focused on its homegrown Symbian operating system, with plans to move to a mobile Linux variant known as MeeGo. In recent weeks, though, the company has been said to be weighing other alternatives and has canceled plans to bring a new smartphone to the U.S.

A Nokia representative declined to comment on any potential executive shifts. No major executive departures have been announced since Elop assumed the top post in September.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald