Nokia Names A New CTO, Hopes For Reversal Of Fortune With WP7

by Gaurav Kheterpal on September 23, 2011

It’s raining new CEOs and CTOs these days. Last month, long time Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs relinquished all of his duties with the company, ending his 14 year role at the head of one of the world’s most successful technology companies. Apple named Tim Cook as his replacement and questions continue to be asked if Apple’s new CEO will be able to match that sort of bravado?

Yesterday, HP announced that its board of directors has appointed Meg Whitman as president and chief executive officer. Apotheker, CEO for less than 11 months, was ousted yesterday after HP’s reputation took a severe hit post the webOS debacle.

While Steve Jobs stepped down on medical grounds, the announcement from HP clearly reflects a move of desperation. Things haven’t gone as per plan for Nokia this year and to make the matters worse, the company’s CTO Rich Green, who was appointed CTO in May 2010, has been on an extended leave of absence after falling out with new president and CEO over the Finnish firm’s tech strategy. The Finnish giant said on Thursday it had promoted Henry Tirri to CTO after his predecessor Richard Green had decided to leave the company.

It’s an open secret that Green and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop aren’t the best of friends.  It’s understandable that the former felt sidelined when Nokia dumped Symbian to consultancy and outsourcing firm Accenture, while MeeGo was given the step son treatment in favor of Microsoft Windows Phone. Prior to joining Nokia, Green played a key role at Sun Microsystems and was a well-known name in the Java community. He will be returning full time to the US to pursue new opportunities, Nokia said.

As CTO, Tirri assumes responsibility for the CTO organization, charged with setting Nokia’s technology agenda both now and in the future, and driving core innovation to enable business development opportunities. He will be directly reporting to Stephen Elop. Tirri will be based in Sunnyvale, California, where he previously headed the Nokia Research Centre. Several experts believe Tirri could help reverse the company’s dwindling fortunes and fill the gap between Nokia’s flourishing imagination and its floundering production.

In fact, Green isn’t the only recent high profile departure from Nokia. Tero Ojanperä, executive vice president, or EVP, and a member of the Nokia leadership team, is set to leave the company at the end of his contract on September 30. These changes comes at a crucial time for Nokia even as Elop remains steadfast about the future of the company; a future that will see Nokia return to the top of the mobile market, and that will finally see the company break into the smartphone market with the help of Microsoft’s WP7 operating system.

Last week, Elop set the clock ticking by saying that Nokia “is expected to be releasing the first Windows Phone handset – Q4 this year.” The handset would be released on a country by country basis with adding more over time, of course that means some countries such as Australia won’t see the first Nokia WP7 device till early 2012.

My best wishes to Henry Tirri, after all, he certainly has his work cut out to quickly reverse Nokia’s fast fading fortunes.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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