WSJ: Stephen Elop was never the first choice for Nokia’s CEO post

As Stephen Elop readies to shift base from Nokia to Microsoft, a memoir by former chairman of Nokia, Jorma Ollila, has dropped a bombshell regarding his appointment three years back. According to him, Elop was never the first choice for the CEO post, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In his book titled Mahdoton Menestys or An Impossible Success, the former chairman reveals how back in 2010, he flew to the US to interview five potential candidates for the CEO post. After interviewing them over the course of three days, Ollila’s choice was a 50-year old man who was the number two man at a well known American technology company. He doesn’t name the person in his book, but says he had to withdraw himself from the selection process due to personal reasons.

This prompted Ollila to turn to his second choice— Stephen Elop. Ollila though admits that he wasn’t sure about Elop, wondering whether he was too much of an American-style corporate executive for the Finnish company. But in the end, what impressed him was that Elop was “a good salesman and a decisive corporate executive.”

Elop came to Nokia in September 2010 from Microsoft. He in a way turned around Nokia, but more importantly ensured that Microsoft still had a role to play in the smartphone industry thanks to one dedicated hardware partner. While other brands went for Android or a combination of operating systems, Nokia was the only one to dedicate all its efforts to Windows Phone.


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