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.