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Nokia's Chief Designer to Leave Following Microsoft Purchase

Nokia's Chief Designer to Leave Following Microsoft Purchase

Marko Ahtisaari

Nokia's Senior Vice President for Design, Marko Ahtisaari, has announced he will be leaving the company following its takeover by Microsoft.

Ahtisaari will be leaving to pursue "entrepreneurial opportunities" and will be replaced by Stefan Pannenbecker. The announcement comes on the same day that Microsoft revealed it will be buying the mobile phone division of Nokia for €5.44 billion (£4.6bn).

Although Ahtisaari hasn't explicitly stated the move is as a consequence of the Microsoft deal the timing will leave many people in little doubt, with employees in Finland already unhappy at the direction Nokia has taken recently.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who is now widely tipped to takeover as Microsoft CEO when Steve Ballmer departs next year, spoke to investors and employees in Finland earlier today to reassure that Nokia would still have a presence in Finland, with the mobile phone division set to stay there. However, the silence that greeted him as he took to the stage spoke much of the feelings of the locals.

As for Ahtisaari, who joined Nokia back in 2011, his departure is sure to be a blow to Microsoft's plans. Nokia's hardware design has been key to keeping the company relevant in the last few years, with its phones still finding favour despite its own Symbian software and then Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system both failing to capture the public's imagination.

Although Microsoft has proven it is more than capable of designing good hardware, with the likes of the Surface tablet being impressive, it will still be keen for there to be some continuity in its phone design team, and will be even more keen that Ahtisaari's departure isn't a sign of things to come.

Update:
Other personnel movements have since come to light.

Current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will leave the company to take up the role of Executive VP of Devices & Services at Microsoft, where he will be joined by Jo Harlow (Executive VP, Smart Devices), Chris Weber (Global Sales and Marketing), Juha Putkiranta (Executive VP, Operations) and Timo Toikkanen (Executive VP, Mobile Phones). Chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa will become interim CEO of Nokia.

17 Comments

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jrs77 3rd September 2013, 11:10 Quote
Most of the high-value Nokia-employess will leave or allready left Nokia and join Jolla. During the last two years over a hundred former Nokia-developers/engineers allready made this transition.
Corky42 3rd September 2013, 11:27 Quote
Is it just the skeptic in me that thinks something fishy has happened in the last few days.
What with Elop leaving M$ to be CEO of Nokia. Only for M$ to later buy up Nokia's mobile arm and Elop to return to the fold.
rollo 3rd September 2013, 11:29 Quote
Not a huge surprise Microsoft brought them out it was this or watch as windows mobile failed and took down nokia with it.
javaman 3rd September 2013, 12:30 Quote
Will he be Eloping too?
rayson 3rd September 2013, 14:03 Quote
NOW I AM ANGRY.
why would you do this to us. foes this mean that I will be stuck with a windows phone variant of nokia awesome cameras. and please don't change the design language of nokia phones.
Snips 3rd September 2013, 16:41 Quote
Fantastic bit of business, especially with the excellent Lumia range complementing the WP8 OS so well.

With the WP OS being an all round better experience than droid and ios, theres' no negatives here apart from the usual trolls who cannot seem to stop commenting on Microsoft topics even though they hate them so much.
SlowMotionSuicide 4th September 2013, 07:31 Quote
Out of curiosity, how much is Microsoft PR department paying you for making yourself an obnoxious dickwad in every MS-related thread Snips?

We do agree on fantastic bit of business, on Microsoft's part. Lots of investors were practically robbed blind by Elop. There should be a criminal investigation to his actions as a CEO.
Nexxo 4th September 2013, 07:43 Quote
Nokia's stock was plummeting well before Elop took over. It has since stabilised and climbed a bit, and actually went up as this acquisition was announced. So I'm not sure how you think investors are robbed blind. In any case, this investor disagrees with you:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yariko
Microsoft bought Nokia's phone business, what a relief to me as a smallish Nokia shareholder. Finally the pressure is of and I don't need to worry does the WP-strategy work and is the next flagship phone enough to convince the markets and all that stuff...

As the phone business really wasn't that profitable anymore for Nokia, it was mostly just pulling the stock price down with all the speculation; does WP-strategy work or not. Now all that pressure is off and I can just live stress-free as NSN and all the technology patents will just gain money for the company.

Maybe I'll gain my planned 100-250% profits from Nokia after all Just gotta wait few years.

Pity the chief designer is leaving, though. He is the one person Microsoft wants to hold on to.
Snips 4th September 2013, 08:49 Quote
What SlowMotionSuicide? and you aren't getting paid to be one everywhere else?
jrs77 4th September 2013, 10:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Pity the chief designer is leaving, though. He is the one person Microsoft wants to hold on to.

Microsoft has no chance holding him, as he's allready moved to Jolla like most of the other former Nokia-devs and engineers.

Jolla is the official successor to Nokia and not Microsoft.
Snips 4th September 2013, 11:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Microsoft has no chance holding him, as he's allready moved to Jolla like most of the other former Nokia-devs and engineers.

Jolla is the official successor to Nokia and not Microsoft.

Argument could also be made that these very same developers and engineers dropped the ball when at Nokia by not being a head of the game. They did the same thing with "flip-phones" a few years ago, it let the door open to so many manufacturers becoming successful.

They also started the smartphone era very late and have had to do something different to remain viable. Now, after so many of these developers and engineers had gone to Jolla, it seems the Lumia range is actually gaining momentum, no matter how much some here don't want that to happen for whatever reason they can think up.
jrs77 4th September 2013, 12:06 Quote
The devs and engineers were not the ones making the strategical decisions that led to the downfall of Nokias mobile segment. It was stupid CEOs like Elop that made the bad strategical decisions.
Nexxo 4th September 2013, 15:05 Quote
Purleaze! Nokia has a history of releasing disastrously neutered or incomplete products due to departmental infighting (they'll fit right in with Microsoft) and stupid business decisions based in fears that one product might cannibalise the sale of another.

If anything Elop has saved the day. Nokia can shed its mobile phone division before it drags the company down into the pit of bankruptcy, and Microsoft acquires a decent mobile division it has the cash flow to turn around again. Everybody wins.
Beasteh 4th September 2013, 19:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Purleaze! Nokia has a history of releasing disastrously neutered or incomplete products due to departmental infighting (they'll fit right in with Microsoft) and stupid business decisions based in fears that one product might cannibalise the sale of another.

Like the N97... oh, the horror...

Shame to see the designer leave, love my Lumia because of the design. The blue (sorry, cyan) polycarbonate case really makes it for me. It's a pleasure to hold like a handheld device should be, not too large or too thin. Survived a drop from a height onto concrete, too! Try that with an iPhone!
Snips 5th September 2013, 08:18 Quote
Have you seen them hammering a nail using the 900 screen? Mental
Bloodburgers 5th September 2013, 18:39 Quote
I disagree that Windows Phone took Nokia down. I have a Nokia Lumia 920 after getting fed up with the same old same old from Apple (i was also not a huge fan of android despite the hardware bieing quite impressive). Out of all the phones on the WP Platform Nokia Offered the best value for money in my opinion especially as HTC were being pushed as the Premium Partner for the platform. To counter this Nokia bundled an amazing suite of software. Perhaps this decision by MS to push HTC instead of Nokia made it easier for them to purchase the Finnish Company before its value increased?
impar 5th September 2013, 20:34 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodburgers
... especially as HTC were being pushed as the Premium Partner for the platform.
:?
Nokia was the "premium partner"...
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