Nokia names Motley crew member for fixed | Light Reading

Nokia names Motley crew member for fixed | Light Reading

New leaders often bring a management refresh but rarely as much upheaval as the latest regime change at Nokia. Including erstwhile CEO Rajeev Suri, seven top executives have now either fallen on their swords or been dismissed from their posts in recent months (the full list is shown below).

For Pekka Lundmark, Nokia’s latest boss, the mission is to reduce the pool of decision makers with seats on the global leadership team to just 11, from the 17 Nokia had under Suri. This cull, it is hoped, will streamline and simplify the business. “Even in a fairly straightforward mobile access deal, there are five members responsible for that deal and that takes a lot of coordination,” Lundmark told analysts last week.

He has now almost finalized the appointments for his executive team. After recently naming new recruit Nishant Batra as the chief strategy and technology officer, the company this week confirmed that Sandra Motley, the president of fixed networks, will lose her seat at the table. While Motley will continue to lead the fixed networks business, her unit will form a part of the new network infrastructure group led by Federico Guilln, already confirmed as one of Lundmark’s 11.

The new gang

With nine other seats now taken, Nokia is still looking for an eleventh member of the team to fill what is likely to be a corporate affairs role. That means Gabriela Styf Sjman and Bhaskar Gorti will probably be excluded.

Sjman’s job of chief strategy officer has effectively disappeared with the appointment of Nishant Batra. She has been in talks about her future at the company, a Nokia spokesperson told Light Reading last week. It is not totally inconceivable she steps into the corporate affairs role.

Table 1: Executive changes at Nokia

NameRoleStatusOn global leadership team?
Rajeev SuriEx-CEODepartedNo
Kristian PullolaEx-chief financial officerDepartedNo
Pekka LundmarkCEOConfirmedYes
Marco WirnChief financial officerConfirmedYes
Nassib Abbou-KhalilChief legal officerConfirmedYes
Barry FrenchChief marketing officerDepartedNo
Gabriela Styf SjmanEx-chief strategy officerIn talksUncertain
Marcus WeldonEx-chief technology officerDepartedNo
Nishant BatraChief strategy and technology officerConfirmedYes
Stephanie Werner-DietzChief human resources officerConfirmedYes
Tommi UittoPresident of mobile networksConfirmedYes
Sandra MotleyPresident of fixed networksNamed head of fixed networksNo
Rahgav SahgalPresident of Nokia EnterpriseNamed head of cloud and network servicesYes
Jenni LukanderPresident of Nokia TechnologiesConfirmedYes
Basil AlwanCo-president of IP/optical networksTaking advisory roleNo
Sri ReddyCo-president of IP/optical networksTaking advisory roleNo
Bhaskar GortiPresident of Nokia Software and chief digital officerUncertainUncertain
Sanjay GoelPresident of global services and operationsDepartedNo
Ricky CorkerPresident of customer operations, AmericasNamed head of customer experienceYes
Federico GuillnPresident of customer operations, EMEA and APACNamed head of network infrastructureYes

Gorti is in a similar position as Motley. His software business has been rolled into a new cloud and network services unit that will be led by Rahgav Sahgal, until now president of Nokia’s enterprise business. Like Motley, Gorti could settle for a less senior role, but that is by no means certain.

Other members of the global leadership team have not settled, after all. Basil Alwan and Sri Reddy, co-presidents of the high-flying IP and optical networks business, are to step down after their unit is absorbed into Guilln’s network infrastructure one. They will, however, continue to advise Nokia for much of 2021, the company announced this week. “Sri and I are committed to ensuring a smooth and seamless continuation of service for our customers,” said Alwan in a prepared statement.


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Securing the services of two such highly respected industry executives should help to minimize disruption for Nokia as Lundmark kneads it into an entirely different shape. He is flattening out the doughy corporate functions by shifting 14,000 of their employees into his new business groups: mobile, network infrastructure, cloud services and the licensing unit (Nokia Technologies) that will continue as before.

Further job losses seem inevitable as Nokia tries to fatten profit margins that suffered under previous management. Average headcount at the business fell by nearly 4,800 positions last year, to 98,322. “Streamlining” and “simplifying,” words Lundmark used pointedly during last week’s discussion with analysts, are activities that seem likely to affect the entire organization, and not just Nokia’s global leadership team.

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Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

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