Nokia names veteran Sari Baldauf as group boss to tackle 5G problem

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(Information) – Telecoms gear maker Nokia (NOKIA.HE) introduced on Tuesday that it plans to nominate its former networks chief Sari Baldauf as chairman, succeeding Risto Siilasmaa who will step down after eight years within the job.

Flags with the Nokia brand flutter at firm’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland, Might 5, 2017. Information/Ints Kalnins

Taking over the highest job at Nokia will make Baldauf, 64, one of the vital high-profile feminine executives within the telecoms trade globally.

She faces the duty of catching up with rivals Huawei and Ericsson in 5G, after Nokia in October minimize its outlook for this 12 months and subsequent due to the necessity to step up its investments – information that knocked a 3rd off its share worth.

It additionally suspended dividend funds to preserve money and pledged to hurry up the introduction of recent 5G chipsets.

Baldauf headed Nokia’s networks unit – now the corporate’s important enterprise – between 1998 and 2005. She has sat on Nokia’s board of administrators since final 12 months and has additionally sat on the boards of firms together with Daimler (DAIGn.DE), Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) and Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS) and Finnish utility Fortum (FORTUM.HE).

“I believe it’s a vastly optimistic transfer to see a lady take such an vital position in such a prestigious enterprise,” mentioned Ben Wooden, head of analysis at UK-based tech consultancy CCS Perception. Wooden has adopted Nokia for almost 20 years.

Baldauf mentioned in a press release on Tuesday that she sees a transparent alternative to assist create long-term shareholder worth, working with CEO Rajeev Suri.

“Rajeev and his group are working exhausting to handle each the short-term points and strengthen Nokia’s longer-term worth drivers,” she mentioned.

Her appointment is topic to shareholder approval on the group’s annual normal assembly in April.

Baldauf is the final remaining govt from former chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila’s group which within the late 1990s constructed a Finnish firm with a tiny tech unit into the world’s greatest cellphone maker.

“Nokia goes again to the longer term! The latest revenue warning, dividend minimize and 5G lag have rattled the corporate,” mentioned Neil Mawston, director at analysis agency Technique Analytics.

“Huawei and Ericsson have arguably inched forward on R&D, and Nokia is feeling the enterprise strain. Nokia is popping to the outdated “dream group” for assist,” Mawston mentioned.

Siilasmaa, 53, performed a central position in revamping Nokia from cellphone maker with a community arm right into a high three telecom gear maker globally.

Nokia, nevertheless, was wrong-footed in ready for 5G radio requirements to return into pressure late final 12 months, whereas rivals have been faster to revamp merchandise in anticipation of early rollouts in america and South Korea, trade sources and analysts have mentioned.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Modifying by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton