Nokia is on the lookout for a replacement for current chief executive, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, according to an online report posted today.
The report, published in the Wall Street Journal Online, cites "people familiar with the matter" as the source of the information and suggests that it is Nokia's failure to make an impact on the smartphone market that is behind the Finnish company's search for a new CEO.
Since his arrival in the top spot, Kallasvuo has prioritised the provision of personalised services, in part through the expansion of the Ovi services, as well as the development of new handsets.
According to Gartner Vice President Nick Jones, Nokia could have a tough search on its hands:
"The problem Nokia faces is finding a European Steve Jobs to replace OPK. The new CEO needs the experience to run a company the size of Nokia, the charisma to pacify investors, the knowledge to recognise bad products and strategies, and the courage to kill them. I believe the new CEO needs to be someone already in the mobile space, because an outsider would take too long to get up to speed on how this business works. But there aren’t a lot of obvious candidates who have all these traits plus the ability to fit into a Finnish management culture,” said Mr Jones in a statement.
Since the beginning of 2006, the year in which Kallasvuo was appointed, the company's share price rose from €16.33 (£13.80) to €26.89 in 2008, but has since dropped to its current level at around €6.97, representing a decline of nearly 59 percent since the beginning of 2006.
Kallasvuo's appointment pre-dated the release of Apple's first generation iPhone which arguably redefined the smartphone market landscape, and despite Nokia holding a large mobile device market share (estimated at around 40% in its most recent quarterly financial report) the Finnish company has since been struggling to regain traction in the sector, the WSJ reports.
For its upcoming smartphone releases Nokia now has two different operating systems in development, Symbian^3, which will feature first on the N8, and MeeGo —an amalgamation of the Maemo and Moblin operating systems— the first handset of which is destined for release sometime before the end of 2010.