The rumors were true. Nokia just announced a change in leadership: Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is out, Stephen Elop, the current head of Microsoft's Business Division, is in. That's right, the very Finnish Nokia will now be led by a Canadian. Before Microsoft, Elop, a computer engineer by education, held senior executive positions at Juniper Networks, Adobe Systems, and Macromedia. The embattled OPK will vacate his position as President and CEO on September 20th and will continue to chair the Board at Nokia Siemens Networks. Money quote:
"His (Elop's) strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company."
Naturally, OPK leaves with a severance package honoring his 30 years of service. That translates to 18 months gross base salary and target incentive totalling about €4.6 million plus 100,000 restricted Nokia shares that will vest on October 1, 2010. Once again, proof that it's good to be king.

Update: Click through if you'd like to gaze into the hopeful eyes of Nokia's new CEO.

Update 2: Nokia just introduced Stephen Elop to the world in a live press conference (available now for replay) from Espoo. Jorma Ollila, Nokia's Chairman and former CEO, confirmed that the CEO search had been ongoing since late May and OPK, for his part, has been very professional and "very gallant" throughout the process. Jorma then praised Stephen for his "very strong cultural sensitivity," a question that's very near and dear to Finns concerned about a North American taking control of their beloved Nokia. Elop will be moving to Helsinki in the very near future and his first order of business will be to "listen." Elop said that Nokia is well aware of the challenges it faces as well as the solutions to those challenges. It's his job, then, to surface those solutions and to execute on them going forward. Understandably, Stephen refused to talk about specific next steps. Stephen did say that the North American smartphone market is absolutely critical to Nokia and will be an emphasis under his leadership (as it had under OPK, unfortunately, with poor results). Hopefully, Elop's contacts in the US can help.

One final tidbit of interest. When Stephen sat down with Ballmer to express his intention to leave Microsoft for Nokia, Ballmer was said to be disappointed but supportive due to his respect for Nokia as a company. He even helped with the transition. Don't you hate it when your stereotypes are debunked?

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Nokia appoints Stephen Elop to President and CEO as of September 21, 2010


Nokia Corporation
Stock Exchange Release
September 10, 2010 at 08:30 (CET+1)

Espoo, Finland -Nokia's Board of Directors has appointed Stephen Elop President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia as of September 21. Elop currently heads Microsoft's Business Division. Before joining Microsoft, Elop held senior executive positions in a number of US-based public companies, including Juniper Networks, Adobe Systems Inc. and Macromedia Inc. He holds a degree in computer engineering and management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, which is his home country.

"The time is right to accelerate the company's renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success. The Nokia Board believes that Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to realize the full potential of Nokia. His strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company. We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders," said Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors.

Elop commented on his new Nokia position: "I am extremely excited to become part of a team dedicated to strengthening Nokia's position as the undisputed leader of the mobile communications industry, with a relentless focus on meeting the needs and expectations of customers. Nokia has a unique global position as well as a great brand upon which we can build. The company has deeply talented and dedicated people, and I am confident that together we can continue to deliver innovative products that meet the needs of consumers. The Nokia slogan clearly states our key mission: Connecting People, which will acquire new dimensions as we build our portfolio of products, solutions and services."

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will leave his current position as President and CEO of Nokia on September 20, 2010 and his position on the Nokia Board of Directors with immediate effect. He will continue to chair the Board of Nokia Siemens Networks in a non-executive capacity.

"The whole Board of Directors joins me in thanking Olli-Pekka for his thirty years at Nokia, during which he has been deeply involved in developing the company and its operations. His dedication and contribution throughout the years has been exceptional. The Board wishes him every success in his future pursuits," says Jorma Ollila.

In accordance with the terms and conditions of his service contract, Kallasvuo is entitled to a severance payment consisting of 18 months gross base salary and target incentive which totals approximately 4.6 million euro. He will also receive as compensation the fair market value of the 100 000 restricted Nokia shares granted to him in 2007, which vest on October 1, 2010.

As of September 10, 2010, the Nokia Board will consist of the following members: Jorma Ollila (Chairman), Dame Marjorie Scardino (Vice Chairman), Lalita D. Gupte, Bengt Holmström, Dr. Henning Kagermann, Per Karlsson, Isabel Marey-Semper, Risto Siilasmaa, Keijo Suila.

A press conference will be held today at Nokia's head office in Espoo, Finland, at 13:00 (CET+1). The press conference will be webcast live via: www.nokia.com/press or http://www.nokia.com/press/media_resources/audio/nokia-webcasts.

About Nokia
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device - from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia's NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.

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Nokia's OPK is out, Microsoft exec in as President and CEO (updated)