Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stepping down ahead of transition to Microsoft

Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services business has more implications for Nokia than you might suspect at first glance. In the wake of the deal, CEO Stephen Elop is stepping down to become the Executive VP of Devices & Services, and should join Microsoft once the acquisition closes. The shift in rank should minimize any perceived conflict of interest during Elop's transition, Nokia says. Chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa will assume an interim CEO position while the company looks for a permanent replacement for Elop. Meanwhile, key Nokia executives Jo Harlow, Chris Weber, Juha Putkiranta and Timo Toikkanen are also expected to follow Elop to Microsoft; Executive VP of Design Marko Ahtisaari plans to step down on November 1st, and will leave the company on November 30th to once more become an entrepreneur. All told, Microsoft is getting several of the cellphone industry's better-known leaders in one shot -- and Nokia's remaining leadership will be mostly unrecognizable to long-term fans.