Nokia vice-president leaves firm; questions remain over why

Nokia vice-president leaves firm; questions remain over why

Summary: A senior Nokia executive has left the company, but the high-profile smartphone marketer left without fuss or explanation -- and nobody seems to want to talk about it.


Nokia vice-president of product marketing Ilari Nurmi has left the company, Reuters confirmed on Friday, but questions over his departure linger after the high-profile executive at the Finland-based phone giant left seemingly through the back door. 

Nurmi, who was in charge of Nokia's smartphone strategy, confirmed the news on Twitter late Sunday evening:

But the reason exactly why Nurmi left the company remains unknown. 

The launch of two Windows Phone 8-powered Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 devices last month left investors reportedly disappointed by the lack of communication by the phone maker over launch details and prices. Nurmi spoke at the announcement of the two phones, alongside other senior Nokia executives. Another annoyance -- the long wait between the announcement in September and the launch later in fall -- also ruffled the feathers of company investors.

Former Nokia vice-president of product marketing Ilari Nurmi leaves the firm after 15 years, but for what reason remains unknown.

Image credit: Nokia.

While the devices themselves were highly regarded as strong competitors in the mobile market place, and subsequently received rave reviews from the media, Nokia suffered a share price plunge of close to 16 percent on the day.

Soon after the revealing of the next-generation Lumia handsets, Nokia was embroiled in a 'staging' controversy that led to an internal investigation at the firm's Espoo headquarters. Nokia confessed that a promotional video for the Lumia 920 was filmed with a professional film crew and not by the device itself, leading to the phone giant swallowing a whole selection of bitter-tasting humble pies. 

The firm said there was "no intention to mislead," but nonetheless apologized -- only after The Verge site discovered that Nokia had "faked" the video. But at the heart of the phone's product marketing was Nurmi, who would have been ultimately responsible for the gaffe. 

Latest comScore figures also show that Nokia's place in the mobile market has slipped beyond a point almost of no return. The phone maker, which once saw a mobile in almost every hand of every emerging market around the world, remains left out of the top five smartphones and non-smartphone table of mobile manufacturers.

In terms of platform share, Microsoft's Windows Phone share continues to decline month-on-month, currently standing at 3.6 percent of the market, but it's likely that Samsung and HTC are carrying the bulk of the sales ahead of Nokia, which in July only managed to ship (not sell) 600,000 handsets to North America. 

These three events combined -- a Nokia share price plunge, an embarrassing mea culpa after a faked promotional advert was uncovered, and an ongoing dwindling of market share figures -- may have led to the departure of the Nokia vice-president.

But we can only guess. 

Nurmi did not return contact to ZDNet at the time of writing. A Nokia spokesperson said the company "does not publicly comment on internal matters." Of course, we'll update the piece if we hear back.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. BST: to clarify "Windows Phone" share, as Windows Phone 8 has yet to be released.

Topics: Nokia, Microsoft, Smartphones, Tech Industry, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Not surprising at all.

    In years past, Nokia phones sold themselves, as there were few competitors. Today there is compitition from Apple, Samsung, ect with more looking to get into the bussiness.

    And yet Nokia did little in the way of advertising, nowhere close to the level of Apple and Samsung of late.

    Did marketing not see what was going on with competing companies in reference to advertising?
    John Zern
    • Not Just Marketing

      It's not just marketing. iPhone and Android were out for how many years without any sort of competition from Nokia?
      • If MS dictates your future

        Your company id just as good as dead. Ask SCO, Novell, Nokia and many others like WP, VisiCalc, Netscape, Borland. For this reason I shall never support any MS product.

        Though Nokia made its worst decision by replacing their CEO with an MS exec. Look what he has done in so rew years. He should be fired and held accountable,
    • Quality

      is the best marketing for any product.

      Build a better phone - it will sell itself, stop feeding useless parasites marketing execs.
    • Nokia advertising

      Nokia does a *lot* of advertising, at least in Europe.

      TV commercials for smartphones are almost 2/3 Nokia and 1/3 Android (iPhone commercials appear rarely, after launch dates).

      With so much advertising and not much sales...
  • Windows Phone 8 market share is declining?

    I think you meant to say Windows Phone 7 market share. Windows Phone 8, along with Windows 8 and the surface Tablet have a really good shot at disrupting the current smartphone and tablet market. Windows Phone 7 was a stepping stone to Windows Phone 8 and my windows Phone 7 phone is hands down the best pSmartphone OS on the market so windows Phone 8 should be a big seller.
    • Non-existent presence

      WP8 is not available at an attractive price range. Your statement "have a really good shot"... is nonsense and gibberish without any proof... Wait a couple of years.

      Actually there i proof that it will fail miserably following its predecessor. Futures speculations, which you are conveying, have been historically based based on past performances for a reason.
    • fanboy detected

      fanboy detected
      Josy Vieira
  • If I was an investor, I'd be upset to.

    After everything mentioned in this article, and this may not be the fault of Nokia's marketing department, but why would Nokia agree to give AT&T (#2 in the cellular market) exclusivity to sell the Lumia 920 & 820? How can that make investors happy? On top of that ... AT&T is also selling the HTC and Samsung WP8 phones that Verizon is also selling.

    Nokia has done a great job of advertising the new WP8 Lumia's, except for faking the camera capabilities of the 920. I would think it's safe to say most, if not all, existing WP users want the 920 ... and have been waiting on it. But to agree to an exclusive deal with AT&T ... seriously?! How does that help Nokia? Business is business ... I get that, but for this exclusive deal to happen, Nokia had to agree to what AT&T proposed.

    What was a glimmer of hope for Nokia just seemed to fall apart. Please ... for Verizon or another carrier to get another model of the the 920. like a rumored 922, sorry ... too little too late. The perceptions will be it's a step down from the 920. By then, those who REALLY want a next generation Windows phone will have calmed down and see that the HTC and Samsung phones are pretty good also and go with them ... so if this is a short term exclusivity with AT&T, opportunity lost. An opportunity Nokia will not be able to regain.

    How about that, Nokia investors? I'd be upset to and would replace the upper brass of Nokia, especially any that had anything to do with agreeing to this AT&T exclusive deal.

    ... Goodbye, Nokia.
  • Don't let the door hit you...

    ..on the way out.
    No one can say Nokia had been doing great marketing, although MS really should've stepped up more, too. They are partners, after all.
    Here in France we saw lots of ads around the Lumia 800 last year, I went out and got one and love it, for the most part.

    I really wish MS had thought of rebranding their mobile department. Cut out "Windows" or anything like it. They need more smoke and mirrors, a la Apple.
  • Nokia is like the Titanic heading towards an iceberg

    I'm hearing Nokia getting ready to re-consider windows Phone relationship and may launch with Android soon. This is the extent of disappointment with W8.

    Basically all their eggs in this basket is too precarious. Sadly for Nokia, if HTC can barely survive against Samsung in Android space, Nokia will also struggle. They are really caught between a rock and hard place here. It is quite sad to watch the demise of this last European cell phone maker.
    • android would be a surprise

      But you can never tell what would happen when the BOD wakes up and replaces Elop. WP8 plus Symbian feature phones....perhaps a third O/s like MeeGo?
  • nokia plan on lumia

    just think they sold right of lumia 920 and they sold also lumia 810 respectely at&t and t-mobile.

    But fooilsh people talking about the nokia stab itself.

    here is truth nokia selling exclusively due making cash on it more wisely...

    like sponser for marketing...
    Just lumia 920 for at&t, 820 for t-mobile
    they will launch verizon and sprint lanuch cdma edition lumia 92x and 82x
    also found on
    Chintan Prajapati