Nokia appoints veteran Sari Baldauf as Group Chair to drive transition into the future

FINLAND – Nokia, a Finnish multinational telecommunication, information technology, and consumer electronics company has said that it plans to appoint its former networks chief Sari Baldauf as Group Chairperson.

Baldauf, 64, will be succeeding Risto Siilasmaa who will step down after eight years in the job and will become one of the most high-profile female executives in the telecoms industry globally.

Siilasmaa, 53, played a central role in revamping Nokia from cellphone maker with a network arm into a top three telecom equipment maker globally.

Ms Baldauf faces the task of catching up with rivals Huawei and Ericsson in 5G, after Nokia in October cut its outlook for this year and next because of the need to step up its investments – news that knocked a third off its share price.

She said in a statement that she sees a clear opportunity to help create long-term shareholder value, working with CEO Rajeev Suri.

“Rajeev and his team are working hard to address both the short-term issues and strengthen Nokia’s longer-term value drivers,” she said.

The telecommunications giant has already suspended dividend payments to conserve cash and pledged to speed up the introduction of new 5G chipsets.

“Huawei and Ericsson have arguably inched ahead on R&D, and Nokia is feeling the business pressure. Nokia is turning to the old “dream team” for help,” Neil Mawston, director at research firm Strategy Analytics

Baldauf headed Nokia’s networks unit – now the company’s main business – between 1998 and 2005 and has sat on Nokia’s board of directors since last year.

She is the last remaining executive from former chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila’s team which in the late 1990s built a Finnish company with a tiny tech unit into the world’s biggest cellphone maker.

Baldauf is the last remaining executive from former chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila’s team which in the late 1990s built a Finnish company with a tiny tech unit into the world’s biggest cellphone maker.

She also sits on the boards of companies including Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, and Akzo Nobel and Finnish utility Fortum.

Nokia, however, was wrong-footed in waiting for 5G radio standards to come into force late last year, while rivals were quicker to revamp products in anticipation of early rollouts in the United States and South Korea, industry sources and analysts have said.

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