Nokia handset chief leaves HMD Global months after first launch

James Pearce
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CEO Arto Nummela, who only joined in December, has departed HMD Global effective immediately

The CEO of HMD Global, the company currently relaunching Nokia branded handsets, has left the company, just months after the Finnish firm launched its first range of devices.

Arto Nummela, who has been in charge at the firm since December, oversaw the launch of HMD’s first four products - the Nokia 3, 5, 6 and revamped 3310 - at Mobile World Congress.

He had previously spent three years at Microsoft overseeing sales in India, the Middle East and Africa, and had joined from Nokia when it sold its handset business to the software giant after more than a decade at the Finnish firm.

No reason was given for Nummela’s departure, but he will be replaced by HMD Global president Florian Seiche, who will take up the role of acting CEO immediately. 

Sam Chin, chairman of the board at HMD Global said: “Arto Nummela has played a key role in the creation of the HMD Global operation, building the team and launching our first products. On behalf of the whole Board, I thank Arto for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The Finnish company signed an exclusive 10-year brand licensing agreement with Nokia which saw it take control of the vendor’s feature phone business and launch Android-powered smartphones in earlier this year. 

Nokia was once the world’s biggest mobile phone-maker, with a 50.8% global share in 2007, according to Statista. By 2013, the year Microsoft announced plans to acquire Nokia’s handset division in a $7.9 billion deal, this had fallen to just 2.8%. Microsoft stopped using the Nokia brand on its handsets in October 2014, opting for the Lumia sub-brand for smartphones instead, and sold off its feature phone business to HMD in May 2016 for $350 million.