A New GC for Nokia Siemens at a Time of Uncertainty
Note: This story has been updated to correct information about Varsellona's predecessor.
Nokia Siemens Networks, the joint venture of Nokia Corporation and Siemens AG, has named Maria Varsellona as general counsel. She'll work in the Munich office of the Espoo, Finland-based company and report to chief executive officer Rajeev Suri, effective July 1. Varsellona replaces general counsel Joyce Norcini.
Varsellona takes over the legal department at a time of uncertainty: A six-year shareholders' pact expired in April, leaving both Nokia and Siemens free to independently let go of their respective halves of the company.
In late 2011, the company launched a dramatic two-year transformation program and refocused its business around the mobile broadband market. It slashed headcount by 20 percent in the first year of the plan, closed plants, and divested several of its businesses.
In the company's 2012 annual report, Suri proclaimed, "We have become a far more efficient business in 2012 and will continue those efforts until we become the leanest, most productive company in our sector."
Nokia Siemens currently operates in more than 120 countries. It reported net sales of 13.4 billion euros last year.
Varsellona comes to Nokia Siemens from Tetra Pak International, a food and beverage packaging company. As its general counsel, she was responsible for all global legal operations, including providing legal support to the business units and leading IP strategy, corporate governance, and risk management.
The new GC previously worked for GE Oil & Gas, where she held a number of in-house positions, including senior counsel of commercial operations, and the Hertz Corporation, where she was senior counsel, Europe.
In a statement, Suri said Varsellona's experience working with multinationals would address the legal needs of the telecommunications-network equipment maker, "from customer-focused deal making to enhancing our corporate governance systems, and enforcing our strict compliance policies throughout the organization."
Varsellona holds a law degree from Italy's University of Palermo and is admitted to practice in Italy, England, and Wales.