Nokia revealed poor first quarter earnings, a new company CEO, and a revamped plan for the future just a few days after signing over its handset business to Microsoft. In the first three months of 2014, the struggling tech company’s revenue fell to $3.7 billion—a whopping 15 percent loss over Q1 2013.
To make matters worse, Nokia had $452 million in operating losses, compared with $166 million last year. Its handset division, now under Redmond’s care, also dropped 30 percent to $2.6 billion, a loss that could have been avoided, Nokia said, if not for the delayed Microsoft deal, which would have earned the Finnish company a windfall in March.
According to the earnings report, an on-time closing could have reaped Nokia $14.5 billion gross cash, $9.8 billion net cash, $347 million in support payments. Still, the company remains optimistic about its future. “With the closing of our transaction with Microsoft, Nokia begins a new era,” Chairman Risto Siilasmaa said in a statement. “Nokia’s vision is to be a leader in technologies which will be important in a world of billions of intelligent connected devices.”
The new Nokia will be headed up by new CEO Rajeev Suri. His focus is to be “a leader in the technologies for a world where everybody and everything is connected.” Suri has been with Nokia since 1995 and CEO of its Nokia Solutions and Networks division since 2009.
“I believe Rajeev is the right person to lead Nokia forward, and that his passion for technology will help ensure that Nokia continues to deliver technologies that have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Siilasmaa, who has been serving as interim CEO.
Born in 1967, Suri is one of the few top bosses in the business world who doesn’t boast of a management degree from a pedigreed MBA institute, according to The Times of India. He graduated as electronics and telecom engineer from Mangalore University, India in 1989 and started his professional life as a production engineer at CalcomBSE 0.00 % Electronics. After spending five years in ICL India and Churchgate Group, Nigeria he moved to NSN India as system marketing manager in 1995. Within a decade he soared up the ranks to the position of senior vice president Nokia Networks Asia Pacific and on October 1, 2009 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Nokia Solutions and Networks.
With more than 23 years of international experience, Suri is among the most powerful people in U.S. wireless industry. “In a culture dominated by Europeans, the kind of acceptability he has in the organization is unseen,” said a senior executive from a Delhi-based network provider. “He’s deeply respected among his colleagues and despite his age, the level of maturity he has, the authority he carries and his subject knowledge sets him apart from any CEO I’ve worked with.”
People who worked with Suri know him to be a go-getter, a hard-core salesman and one who “does not beat about the bush” regarding anything. Some say that his charismatic personality coupled with his sharp intellect despite his limited educational background, took him far.
In this new era, Nokia will focus on innovative products and services that help manage increased wireless data traffic, invest in more location intelligence, expand its intellectual property licensing program, and more. Suri said, “Nokia, with its deep experience in connecting people and its three strong businesses, is well-positioned to tap new opportunities during this time of technological change.”
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