Nokia in managerial shake-up as Elhage departs

James Pearce
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Nokia will split its mobile networks division into two units after president Samih Elhage steps down at the end of the month

Nokia has announced a shake-up of its senior leadership after the president of its mobile networks business Samih Elhage stepped down.

Elhage has headed up Nokia’s mobile division since 2015, but will leave his current role on 1 April to “pursue new opportunities” according to the Finnish vendor.

He joined Nokia (then Nokia Siemens Networks) as COO in 2012, having previously worked for Bell Canada and Nortel Networks. Elhage has held several roles during his five year stint at the company, and has been a member of the group leadership team since 2014.

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri praised Elhage’s involvement in acquiring Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion in 2015.

"From helping lead the transformation at Nokia Siemens Networks and creating a disciplined operating model that remains a competitive advantage, to being one of the driving forces behind the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and its fast and successful integration, Samih's contributions to Nokia have been remarkable," said Suri. 

"He has been a close friend and advisor through times both good and bad, and I fully support his desire for a change."

Alongside the announcement of Elhage’s departure, Nokia revealed a restructure of its group leadership team and business structure, although it did not reveal if this was linked to Elhage’s parting.

The changes will see Nokia split its mobile networks arm into two separate organisations: one products and solutions division, which will be called Mobile Networks, and another focussing on services, called Global services.

Elhage will be replaced by two people, who will each head up a division: current chief innovation and operating officer Marc Rouanne will become president of the Mobile Networks division, overseeing 4G, 5G, small cells and other mobile solutions; and Igor LePrince, who is currently EVP of global services, will become president of Global Services, joining the GLT.

Nokia will also split its CIOO division, moving operating activities under the control of current COO of fixed networks Monika Maurer, who will become group COO. Innovation will fall under the remit of Marcus Weldon, who remains as president and CTO of Nokia Bell Labs, and will not join the GLT.

Chief strategy officer Kathrin Buvac will assume responsibilities for incubation of new business opportunities, which previously fell under the Rouanne’s responsibilities, while CMO Barry French will look after health, safety, security and the environmental policies.

"These changes are designed to accelerate the execution of our strategy," Suri added. "They will strengthen our ability to deliver strong financial performance, drive growth in services, meet changing customer demands in mobile networks, achieve our cost saving and ongoing transformation goals, and enable strategic innovation across our networks business."