Nokia gets new head for Here mapping unit

Sean Fernback will become the president of Here from next month.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

Nokia has appointed a new head of its Here mapping unit.

Sean Fernback, formerly head of everyday mobility at Here, will take over as president of the business following the departure of Michael Halbherr in August. Halberr left to pursue "entrepreneurial activities" outside of Nokia.

Fernback will become president of Here from 1 November, and will also become part of Nokia's Group Leadership Team. He joined Nokia earlier this year from TomTom, where he was SVP of engineering product development.

Fernback will take charge of a mapping and navigation business composed of three units: consumer, business, and automotive.

Here recently struck a partnership with Samsung to produce a Here app for Samsung Galaxy smartphones and Tizen smartwatches. It recently extended the app to other Android devices through Here.com, but has so far not released the app through Google's Play Store.

Here maps are also found on Amazon's Fire hardware and many Microsoft Lumia devices. While a licensing deal for the mapping software was part of Microsoft's €7.4bn acquisition of Nokia's devices and services unit, Fernback said recently that the company would begin prioritising the development of other OSes alongside Windows Phone.

In the automotive sector, Here has deals with a number of large car makers including Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volvo. According to the company, six million cars have shipped this year with its navigation and mapping software included.

It's also betting big on connected cars, establishing a $100m fund to research connected technologies, and striking a deal with Mercedes Benz to jointly develop autonomous vehicles.

According to its third quarter results, Here's sales were up 12 percent year on year to €236m, thanks to more vehicle sales and Microsoft licensing more from Here. However, Here's profit fell from €21m in the third quarter of last year to zero a year later. "During 2014, Nokia continues to expect Here to invest to capture longer-term transformational growth opportunities while taking steps to increase our focus on our automotive and enterprise businesses. Nokia continues to expect these investments to negatively affect Here's 2014 non-IFRS operating margin," Nokia said.

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