Pekka Lundmark re-joins Nokia as CEO to lead 5G push

Nokia's HQ with dark clouds above
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Nokia has announced the appointment of Pekka Lundmark as its new president and CEO, as the Finnish telecommunications firm looks to breathe new life into its 5G business.

Arriving from energy firm Fortum, Lundmark replaces the outbound chief executive Rajeev Suri, who revealed his intentions to “do something different” after 25 years at the company.

Lundmark will work alongside Sari Baldauf, who also joins Nokia as its new chairman. The pair previously worked together at the firm during Nokia’s mobile heyday as well as at Fortum, where Baldauf chaired its board between 2011 and 2018.

"With the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent behind us and the world of 5G in front of us, I am pleased that Pekka has agreed to join Nokia," commented Nokia Board Chair Risto Siilasmaa, who will step down at the company’s annual meeting in April.

"He has a record of leadership and shareholder value creation at large business-to-business companies; deep experience in telecommunications networks, industrial digitisation, and key markets such as the United States and China; and a focus on strategic clarity, operational excellence and strong financial performance."

The announcement follows a recent report from Bloomberg that revealed that Nokia has been looking at various strategic options due to fierce competition and falling earnings - with speculation even suggesting a possible combination with networking rival Ericsson.

In recent years, Nokia has focused on building a range of products for 5G networks – but competition from its Swedish rivals and Huawei have mounted increasing pressure on the business.

Despite a ban on Huawei providing 5G infrastructure to networks in the US, UK and EU, the firm has seen considerable growth elsewhere thanks to the pricing of its products. Ericsson has also seen significant growth in the gaps left by Huawei’s restrictions, striking big 5G deals with networks such as AT&T, Vodafone, Verizon and Sprint.

However, Lundmark said in a statement that Nokia can now move forward and “create shareholder value” by delivering on its mission in the market.

“I am confident that the company is well-positioned for the 5G era and it is my goal to ensure that we meet our commitments to our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders,” he said.

“Strong values, leading innovation and unflinching commitment to our customers have always been core to Nokia and I want to put this even more at our center as we move forward.”

The outgoing Suri, who has worked at Nokia since 1995, will leave his position on 31st August but will continue in an advisory role to its board until 1st January 2020.

“Nokia will always be part of me, and I want to thank everyone that I have worked with over the years for helping make Nokia a better place and me a better leader,” Suri said in a statement. “I leave the company with a belief that a return to better performance is on the horizon and with pride for what we have accomplished over time.

“Pekka is an excellent choice for Nokia. I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition and wish him the best success in his new role.”

Daniel Todd

Dan is a freelance writer and regular contributor to ChannelPro, covering the latest news stories across the IT, technology, and channel landscapes. Topics regularly cover cloud technologies, cyber security, software and operating system guides, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.

A journalism graduate from Leeds Beckett University, he combines a passion for the written word with a keen interest in the latest technology and its influence in an increasingly connected world.

He started writing for ChannelPro back in 2016, focusing on a mixture of news and technology guides, before becoming a regular contributor to ITPro. Elsewhere, he has previously written news and features across a range of other topics, including sport, music, and general news.