The CEO of Nokia’s largest shareholder derided the vendor’s former management as having been a burden on the company, in an interview with Reuters published a day after rival Samsung Networks revealed it had scored a major deal with the Finnish company’s customer Verizon.

Antti Makinen, CEO of Finnish state-owned fund Solidium, said despite failing to meet the investor’s expectations in recent times, he had high hopes for the vendor’s prospects going forward.

One of the reasons cited for increased optimism was the change of CEO in August, with Rajeev Suri replaced by Pekka Lundmark. Makinen said he believed the new leadership alone would have “a good effect” on the business.

Suri was due to step down at the start of September, though this was later brought forward.

Makinen also referenced a change in chairman during 2020 with Sari Baldauf replacing Risto Siilasmaa, and the appointment of a new CFO.

The leadership overhaul came during turbulent period, with the company losing out on several major network contracts in China and warning the majority of its profit for 2020 would not be delivered until Q4.

It was also reportedly mulling asset sales to improve its balance sheet and announced job cuts at its Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary in June.

Makinen’s interview came a day after Samsung Networks boasted it had won a multi-year contract with US operator Verizon worth $6.6 billion.

Although the direct impact of this deal on Nokia is unclear, it does signal a major contract from one of its customers going to a direct rival. It also followed speculation earlier in the year questioning Nokia’s position with the US operator.

A Nokia stock market update filed on 4 September showed Solidium held a 5 per cent stake in the company, making it its largest individual stakeholder.