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Nokia chairman wanted Vanjoki for CEO, American investors forced him to pick Elop? (update: Nokia says it's false)

Chris Ziegler

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We love us some corporate intrigue, and there's some intrigue of the highest order coming out of Finland today: local rag Kauppalehti claims that Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila had wanted the outspoken Anssi Vanjoki to step up, but was instead forced to endorse Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo's successor to lead the embattled company by a team of American investors who demanded a CEO from the left side of the Atlantic. How "forced," exactly? Ollila was allegedly in line to be ousted if he didn't throw his weight behind Elop, which -- as IntoMobile points out -- is a bit odd considering that Ollila himself is leaving next year. All told, something seems fishy here; it's possible that Ollila is simply trying to save face with Finns (and / or Vanjoki himself) as he prepares to leave Nokia... or it's possible that hordes of vicious Americans with skin in the game collectively tightened the vice grips. Either way, Elop seems to be cleaning house in light of the Symbian move, so it'll be interesting to see whether he can steer the ship back on course here in 2011.

Update: We've just received a statement from a Nokia spokesperson that basically calls the story a total fabrication:
"The story is totally unfounded speculation. There were three candidates for Nokia CEO position in the final selection and Stephen was chosen on merit without any external interference. We are very disappointed that this story was published just prior to the financial results."
So there you have it -- three candidates, Elop won, so says Nokia.

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