First Kallasvuo, now Vanjoki, who is next? [Dear Elop: Please fire Savander and McDowell]

Heart wrenching news came out of Finland this morning when Anssi Vanjoki, my favorite executive of all time due to his bombastic comments and remarkable resemblance to a James Bond villain, announced that he’s leaving the company effective 6 months from now. He doesn’t exactly say why, or what he’s going to do next, but this is a huge shock considering a little less than 3 months ago he penned a letter, published on the Nokia Conversations blog, that said he was “committed” and “obsessed” at making Nokia a leader in the smartphone space. He even called out Ricky Cadden, who left the Symbian blogging community with a bang by writing an essay detailing what the company is doing wrong and that he’s had enough of watching them stumble, by saying it’s his responsibility to make Nokia do better to gain his support again.

Several of my former colleagues who I’ve spoken to today are absolutely puzzled by this decision. A few theories are floating around, the most frequently repeated is that Vanjoki wanted to become the next CEO, but when he heard about Elop he got furious. Speaking about Elop, he really needs to let go Niklas Savander, who has done an abysmal job with Ovi, and Mary McDowell, who admittedly made fantastic Eseries devices, but ultimately failed at making Nokia relevant in the corporate market, American market, and most troubling of all oversaw the decline in quality that Eseries devices currently struggle with. Hold a Nokia E72, then an E71, and you tell me what the hell happened in the span of just 1 year.

Vanjoki says he’s going to be “one hundred per cent committed to doing my best for Nokia until my very last working day”, and I don’t doubt that for a second. He’s known inside Nokia House (what Nokia employees call the corporate headquarters in Espoo, Finland) as a workaholic, and some even say he is Nokia’s Steve Jobs since it was either his way or the highway.

To quote Socrates, all I know is that I know nothing, and I mention that because whatever any analyst publishes about Nokia right now, whether it be projections of future profitability, or predictions in terms of future hardware, software, and services strategies, is pure horse shit. Two big things happened in the span of less than a week, and I’ve got a gut feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Nokia going forward is not the Nokia I once knew, and that excites my jaded heart to no end.

  • Matti

    OPK – Good riddance

    Savander & Mcdowell – Can join OPK and Simonsen on the burial ground for ex-Nokia executives (AKA the board of directors for Nokia Siemens Networks).

    Anssi – Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Nokius

    You are so right! stefan!! I can full agree with your artical. Nokia will never be the same in the future!

  • as21ro

    yes, thats the true Stefan…Nokia, never be the same that i know…and that hurt me…
    after all that reviews with N8, i’m affraid is the same story like N97…

  • Mace

    Anssi was one candidate to be new CEO and he lost. He did not want to be number 2 anymore. Same thing happened when OPK stepped in, all ambitious candidates left: Pietilä, Baldauf, Alahuhta. Elop builds his own team.

  • it is not Anssi who has lost – it is current North American shareholders crowd obsessed with idea that US is The Market to be win at any price (even people like Anssi should go)… whether this is right assumption or the biggest fail (granted US slowly goes into long-term financial quagmire) — will be seen in next few years. I tend to think US market is not that important anymore (it is not going to be The Market for few decades), so wasting good company backbone for false premise of US almightiness is huge mistake. Asia is The Market now and would be great to see Anssi taking that opportunity into face of pro-US crowd.

  • vasra

    Pretty normal that the 2nd guy waiting in the line goes, when they hire a new CEO from outside.

    Anssi can be pretty driven, but Nokia really needs a good shake-up. It’s good he is leaving.

    I hope the people inside are finally waking up to the fact that they can’t just go to work everyday and expect things to be better. No more BAU with slight tweaking for Nokia. No more “lets do a re-org and everything will be right”.

    Elop and his new as-yet-to-be-named-team have huge work in front of them:

    – make consumer experience number 1 (now it’s at maybe third place)
    – redo all the web-services (Ovi is still not where it should be)
    – Totally revamp all the marking (this has sucked so badly, it hurts)
    – Cut the cycle times in projects HALF. They can’t compete with 2.3year cycle
    – Get rid of A LOT of upper-mid-management senior VPs and all sorts of dead weight who are just slowing down the renewal and new ideas
    – Redo the whole design concept and process – make it central part of the product cycle and get some real design strategists onboard (being a bass-player doesn’t make one a design strategist)
    – Revamp the current “profits through BOM-optimization and sub-contractor profit choking” thinking into value from innovation and superior value

    So much to do, so little time (it’s a big ship!). Here’s hoping most of them are already in place or being constructed as we have this discussion.

    If not… Bye-bye Symbian and good riddance Nokia the No.1.

  • Jim

    So now, I’m actually curious about, not the N8, but the Nokia devices 12 months from now, after Elop has had his input.

Back to top ▴