Nokia Smartphone Exec Resigns as New CEO Elop Joins
LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Anssi Vanjoki, the Nokia (NOK1V) executive in charge of smartphones and services, is resigning following the appointment of outsider Stephen Elop as CEO of the world's biggest cellphone maker.
Vanjoki, who joined Nokia in 1991 and has been head of Mobile Solutions since 2008, has a six-month notice period and will continue with his current tasks for the time being, Nokia said in a statement on Monday.
"I felt the time has come to seek new opportunities in my life," said Vanjoki, an outspoken and respected figure in the mobile phone industry who was considered the most likely internal candidate to replace CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
Nokia shares rose 1.9 percent to 7.94 euros by 0722 GMT, one of the leading gainers in a European technology index .SX8P that rose 1.2 percent. The shares had risen by almost 7 percent on Friday but closed the day just 0.6 percent higher.
"This marks the end of an era at Nokia and could signal further management changes to follow," UK-based telecoms research firm CCS Insight said in a note.
Vanjoki heads Nokia's high-end phones and services businesses, the area in which the Finnish firm is under most pressure to compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and more recent hit models like Motorola's (NYSE:MOT) Droid in the United States.
He was responsible for Nokia's Nseries, which included the N95 smartphone that was a hit in 2006. Nokia has not produced another smartphone as popular since then.
Vanjoki said he was still looking forward to Nokia World, the company's annual showcase event, where he is due to give the opening keynote on Tuesday.
Nokia announced on Friday it was hiring Elop, a Canadian Microsoft (MSFT.O) executive with Silicon Valley credentials, to replace embattled CEO Kallasvuo and renew its drive to compete with Apple.
Nokia's chairman, Jorma Ollila, who led Nokia's transformation from a rubber boots-to-TVs conglomerate into a mobile phones giant in the 1990s, also said on Friday he would step down after helping with the CEO management change. (Editing by Greg Mahlich and Hans Peters)