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ESPOO, Finland – In a little over a week, Stephen Elop will take over as Nokia’s new President and CEO. Following a thorough selection process Nokia believes it has found the right person to lead Nokia through its transformation and that Elop makes a perfect compliment to Nokia’s current competencies. Previously Stephen was head of Microsoft’s business division after a stint as COO of Juniper Networks and which followed his role as president of worldwide field operations at Adobe Systems Inc. Read on after the jump to find out more.

In brief

  • Stephen Elop now Nokia President and CEO
  • Moves from Microsoft
  • Previously COO at Juniper Networks
  • OPK to serve on board of Nokia Siemens Networks

What benefit will the change in management bring to Nokia?
Fresh eyes and ears will enable Stephen to join the company and start listening (and he’s a pretty good listener, so feel free to tell him what you think). This will help inform him before he embarks on any major decision making and will give Nokia renewed clarity to execute its core strategy.

How will Stephen Elop make a difference?
He has a proven track record and is well-known and respected within the software industry. He also has experience in managing change and complex software projects. Prior to working at Microsoft and Juniper Networks, Stephen worked for Adobe following its acquisition of Macromedia.

What’s he going to do when he joins?
Only Stephen can answer that, but we suspect he’ll spend the first while taking a good look around and listening to what folk have to say. He’s here to help accelerate the execution of Nokia’s transformation but with a fresh look, we can expect to see some adjustments to how Nokia’s strategy is being carried out.

Does this mean we’ll see a new strategy for Nokia?
The core strategy is solid and Nokia will continue to power through what is a substantial transformation (from a hardware company to a software company). Elop will help to accelerate that (he’s a get-things-done guy) and his fresh eyes and ears will enable him to take a fresh look at big questions as to that strategy is executed.

What are the benefits of choosing a CEO with a strong software background?
Nokia is transitioning from a hardware manufacturer of mobile devices to a software and solutions business. Picking someone with the right experience is crucial in helping Nokia to make that transition quickly and effectively. Stephen’s background in the software industry is one of his key strengths. More importantly, his most previous experience has been during times of substantial transformation in large companies. The board believes this combination of experience makes him the best candidate to take Nokia forward.

What does Stephen know about Nokia?
Quite a lot, actually. Some time ago Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft and has been collaborating with the company on strategic implementations over the last two years. Stephen Elop lead this partnership from Microsoft’s side, so has had substantial exposure to the inner workings of Nokia and gained a very strong understanding of the business. This will enable him to hit the ground running when he joins on September 21.

What’s OPK going to do?
After a 30-year career at Nokia, OPK will be stepping down from his role as president and CEO. It’s the end of an era with OPK’s departure from the leadership team at Nokia. We’re grateful to OPK for helping build the company and brand that Nokia is today. He won’t be going too far though, OPK will remain on the board of Nokia Siemens Networks, a business he’s very familiar with and can contribute to extensively.

Tell me something about Stephen Elop….
Canadian-born Stephen Elop has spent much of his career in Silicon Valley. The 46 year old will be moving to Espoo in Finland to take up his new role. Stephen is married with a 19-year old son, 14-year old daughter and 11-year old triplet daughters. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Stephen is someone who, in his own words, is “focused on delivering great experiences to consumers” and he spends an enormous amount of time listening and believes “the truth is out there, if you listen for it, you can hear it”.

As president of Microsoft’s Business Division he was part of the team responsible for the company’s overall strategy and he oversaw the Microsoft Office systems and other communications tools and applications for consumers and business.

Elop joined Microsoft from Juniper Networks where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the company’s product groups, corporate development, sales, service and manufacturing organisations.
In 2005 Stephen Elop was CEO of Macromedia when it was acquired by Adobe Systems Inc. Following the acquisition Elop served as president of worldwide field operations.

Stephen Elop has a long and distinguished career in the software industry and a proven track record in helping large companies make substantial transitions. We’re really excited to have him on board at Nokia and looking forward to the coming months and years.

Oh, and he loves hockey though won’t be drawn on whether he plans to switch national allegiance to Finland once he’s moved to Espoo.