Nokia named the head of an energy company to take the helm at the networking giant less than a month after Rajeev Suri, CEO since 2015 (pictured), warned the majority of its profit for 2020 would likely not be delivered until Q4.

The company’s board appointed Fortum chief Pekka Lundmark to replace Suri as president and CEO. Lundmark, who held multiple executive positions at Nokia from 1990 to 2000 including VP of strategy and business development at Nokia Networks, is expected to start the new role on 1 September 2020.

Suri, who has been with Nokia for 25 years, will continue to serve as an adviser to the board until 1 January 2021.

Facing fierce competition from rivals Ericsson and Huawei in 5G, Suri was under intense pressure to improve Nokia’s balance sheet, with reports stating the company was considering potential asset sales and merger activity.

In its annual results statement in early February, Suri noted areas of concern included high costs and price pressure related to its first run of 5G equipment, the company’s “product mix” and profitability in China.

It also failed to deliver an upturn in US contracts despite industry leader Huawei being locked out of the country due to security concerns.

At the beginning of the year, Nokia touted global progress in commercial 5G infrastructure contracts, revealing it won 13 new contracts since November 2019, taking its total to 63.

No restructuring
During a press conference, Nokia chair Risto Siilasmaa said Lundmark (pictured, left) would conduct a strategy assessment, as is customary for a new CEO, but emphasised no moves are yet underway.

Siilasmaa also remained tight-lipped on the reports regarding restructuring or asset sales.

While acknowledging it faces challenges in mobile access, especially related to silicon, he said the situation is being addressed and “we believe we will enter next year from a much better position”.

Nokia said Suri had previously told the board he was considering stepping down, provided a solid succession plan was in place.

Suri said it is the “right time for me to step aside…and for a change for everyone. After more than a decade in a CEO role, I’m ready to do something new”.

Siilasmaa will step down as chair at the company’s annual general meeting on 8 April and be replace by Sari Baldauf.