The Business On... Stephen Elop, Chief executive, Nokia
Friday 22 October 2010
The Finnish slasher?
You've obviously heard about the 1,800 job losses Mr Elop announced at Nokia yesterday – after just a month in his new job running the mobile phone giant. But just to put you straight, Mr Elop is Canadian (the first non-Finn to run Nokia, in fact).
Finland must be up in arms?
Actually, no. Nokia may be a national champion but it has been losing ground on rivals such as Apple in recent times and Mr Elop was hired to shake it up.
Do does he have form?
Not really, because he has never run a business of Nokia's size before. He joined from Microsoft, where he was a divisional chief rather than outright boss, and previously ran smaller technology companies such as Juniper and Macromedia.
So what's he like?
Those who have worked with him describe him as ambitious. Forexample, he left Macromedia after it merged with Adobe because he wanted to climb the slippery pole and there was no prospect of the chief executive's job coming up.
A tough cookie then?
He certainly survived the dotcom collapse from 2000 onwards in much better shape than most technology executives. And he is renowned for making his views absolutely clear. Former colleagues nicknamed him "The General".
Was Microsoft sad to lose him?
It was. Although his job there as head of the business division was seen as something as a poisoned chalice when he arrived, he proved the doubters wrong. He was recruited by Microsoft's boss Steve Ballmer, of whom he does a pretty mean impression, and survived a three-hour interview with Bill Gates.
And out of hours?
He is less dynamic by all accounts, including his own. "I've lead a remarkably stable, predictable, well-managed, carefully controlled life," he said on joining Microsoft. Married with five children, he confesses: "I've only had three hairstyles – and this will be my last."
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