Who was Nokia’s first choice for CEO? It wasn’t Elop
Big things could be ahead for Nokia’s Stephen Elop. As Microsoft acquires Nokia’s smartphone business, it’s also scrambling to find itself a new CEO, with Steve Ballmer preparing to step down after over a decade at the helm. Elop’s on the short list of contenders to fill Ballmer’s shoes, if all the rumors are to be believed, and we could well see him confirmed as the company’s next CEO before the year’s out. But as we’re only just now learning, Stephen Elop almost wasn’t Nokia’s CEO to begin with, and only got the job after the top choice withdrew.
A new book by himself former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila tells the tale, describing how Nokia was really going after an unnamed exec who was the second in command at an American tech company – a man described only as being in his 50s. While Nokia may have preferred to go with this candidate, he ultimately had to step out of the running for personal reasons. With the first option gone, Nokia’s board went with Elop.
None of this is to say that another exec would have necessarily been able to find the company greater success, but we well easily could have seen another mind lead Nokia in a significantly different direction.
Ollila’s description leaves us with a pretty large pool, but any guesses as to who might have been the number-one pick mystery man?