Nokia has named Marco Wirén its next CFO, the latest step in its c-suite revamp as it rushes to compete with rivals in the 5G race.
Wirén will join Nokia September 1, the same day Pekka Lundmark starts as new CEO, the Finland-based telecommunications equipment maker said in its announcement. Lundmark was involved in Wirén’s selection.
"Nokia is one of the world’s iconic global companies, and I am excited to be joining as the 5G era gets fully underway," Wirén said in the announcement. "I have deep respect for the company and its culture, and look forward to helping create shareholder value in the years to come."
Wirén and Lundmark, and, likely, their fleet of new c-suite members to come, will step in to help generate new business for Nokia from industrial applications of 5G technology. Those new avenues, Bloomberg reported, will include private sector networks for enterprises, "where low latency and faster speeds of the network enable more precise automation of factories with robotics and artificial intelligence."
Nokia has struggled to compete with Sweden-based Ericsson AB and China-based Huawei Technologies Co. in the tight race to supply operators with fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile technology, analysts say.
"Nokia has suffered from product design delays and higher costs to supply equipment, which have eroded its margins and depleted its cash," Bloomberg reported. "As a result, Nokia last year halted dividend payments to increase investments into 5G technology."
Wirén joins from Wartsila Oyj, where, as president, he heads the energy business unit. He's also held CFO roles at Wartsila, steel company SSAB Group, and technical services provider Eltel Networks Oy.
According to Lundmark, Wirén has "deep financial and leadership experience, a sharp focus on driving operational excellence, and a demonstrated record of success,” as well as “extensive background in business-to-business technology companies.”
"Nokia has clearly had challenges with balance sheet and cash flow, which has created additional pressure for renewal on the financial side," analysts from equity research firm Inderes said in a note to clients, obtained by Yahoo.
Kristian Pullola, CFO since 2017, will step down on August 31 and leave the company at year-end after a transition period. Pullola had been at Nokia for 21 years.
In another change at the company, Sari Baldauf took over as chairwoman two months ago, succeeding Risto Siilasmaa, who had led the board for eight years, Yahoo Finance reported.
Representatives for Nokia and for Wirén did not respond to requests for comment.