Nokia Mobile Phone Exec Leaves After New CEO

HELSINKI (AP) -- The head of Nokia Corp.'s mobile solutions business, Anssi Vanjoki, announced Monday he will resign from the company, just three days after the world's biggest handset maker appointed a new CEO in its bid to become more competitive.

Vanjoki is a board member and in charge of top-end mobile phones -- an area Nokia is keen on improving as it tries to rival Apple Inc., Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerrys and Google Inc.'s Android software.

He remain for a six-month notice period, Nokia said.

His departure comes after Nokia announced Friday that it is replacing CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Microsoft executive Stephen Elop on Sept. 21.

Nokia stock closed up 1.3 percent at euro7.89 ($10.10) on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

With Nokia stock down more than 20 percent this year after two profit warnings, the company's management has come under increasing pressure from investors.

Nokia has specifically been trailing the market in the high-end smart phone segment and Redeye analyst Greger Johansson said some people within the company have blamed the failures on Vanjoki.

He said Vanjoki had previously been seen as a potential successor to outgoing Kallasvuo but drifted away from the top management when the company reshuffled responsibilities earlier this year and Mary McDowell was appointed top chief of the mobile phones business.

However, he said the changes were positive.

"This frees up some space to create change," Johansson said. "They are starting to get more people in who have the right competence."

Vanjoki, who joined Nokia 20 years ago, has been a board member since 1998. Before his current position he headed the markets division and multimedia group.

Nokia has predicted that while global mobile market will grow 10 percent this year, its own growth will remain flat, and its ailing Nokia Siemens unit continues to see revenue fall.

The company uses the Symbian operating system for its smart phones, which is older than Apple's software and wasn't designed from the ground up for touch screen phones. Other manufacturers that used Symbian have mainly jumped ship to Android.

Nokia has also had problems in the North American market, the company's worst performer, despite pledges to make it a top priority.

"I felt the time has come to seek new opportunities in my life," Vanjoki said Monday. "At the same time, I am 100 percent committed to doing my best for Nokia until my very last working day."

Nokia, based in Espoo near Helsinki, employs 130,000 people worldwide.
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