Arto Nummela steps down from HMD CEO position – trouble in Nokia-licensed paradise?
For a Finnish company founded a little over eight months ago, HMD Global sure made a lot of headlines, signed quite a few high-profile partnerships and released a number of robust-looking phones with sensible price points.
Of course, many Nokia 3, 5, 6 and 3310 (2017) buyers may not even know this HMD startup is behind the development, promotion and distribution of their hot new handsets, while renowned ODM Foxconn has been managing actual device production.
Still, you can’t minimize the key role HMD Global CEO Arto Nummela and the rest of the Northern European outfit’s executive team played in reviving the long-waning Nokia brand this year.
That’s precisely what makes Nummela’s corporate departure, suddenly announced earlier today, so shocking and hard to explain. It’s unclear if the Nokia and Microsoft veteran made the decision himself or if he was dismissed by a board of directors mainly including fellow industry heavyweights.
All we know at the moment is President Florian Seiche will assume temporary Chief Executive Officer duties, while Chairman Samuel W.L. Chin “on behalf of the whole board” took the time to “thank Arto for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavors”, stressing his pivotal part in the “creation of the HMD Global operation, building the team and launching our first products.”
A separate company statement described the reason behind the unexpected split as a “personal matter for Arto and the Board.” It remains to be seen if this will impact the impending release of the high-end Nokia 8 smartphone in any way.