Nokia’s New CEO: I Will Guide Us Through Fundamental Change

Nokia’s board chair Jorma Ollila wasted little time presenting Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo’s replacement as CEO to press on Friday morning.

Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, ticked all the right boxes — saying how it’s all about adjusting to change, how he has engaged with Nokia (NYSE: NOK) in previous roles and making expected platitudes toward Nokia’s status as a Finnish cultural icon.

There was even one, slightly Sarah Palin-esque moment, when Elop listed the shared occupancy of Finland and his native Canada atop the northern hemisphere as an advantage. Here’s what he said…

“It is the case in the technology world that there are critical moments where fundamental change takes place.

“For example, when the graphical user interface was first introduced to the personal computer, that was a moment of big change.

“Similarly, when cellular telephones first became popular, it was another moment of dramatic change in how we all communicate.

“And, of course, the advent of the browser-based internet was something that affected all of us in how we all live our daily lives.

“Today, we are going through a similar moment of fundamental change. If you think about the explosion of use in all forms of devices including smartphones, tablets and everything else…

“If you think about the advent of cloud-based computing strategies or delivery of services from the internet, or you consider how all of us and our children are now communicating using all forms of social media…

“If you put all of those pieces together, you quickly realise that these elements are conspiring to create a moment of fundamental disruption. Tremendous opportunity is created as well as tremendous challenges.

“There is no doubt that you see all sorts of other companies and competitors rushing to the scene. You see new approaches to hardware new operating systems, new application platforms, new services, even new ways of making money.

“But, of course, for Nokia, this moment of change represents a tremendous opportunity. Nokia can take advantage of its many unique strengths and assets and apply those to these opportunities…

“Strengths include the incredible caliber of the people here at Nokia, the quality of our products and our engineering prowess, the strengths of our partners, suppliers our entire distribution and logistics networks, and our developing strengths in software development and the delivery of services.

“If we take advantage of all of those assets, while also listening very carefully to the consumers of our products … things are changing so quickly, that we have to listen and respond and react and deliver solutions that make sense for them today.

My role as the leader of Nokia is to lead this team through this period of change, take the organisation through a period of disruption. My job is to create an environment where those opportunities are properly captured…

“I will immediately begin to listen.

“That mission of connecting people, will continue as a critical element of our strategy.

“I have a unique responsibility that represents the critical relationship between Nokia and the unique society of Finland.

“I have a great deal to learn about Nokia, but I also have a great deal to learn about Finland. That has already begun…

“That process has been greatly assisted by my heritage. As you may know, I’m a Canadian citizen, you may also know that Canada and Finland share the Arctic Circle, that’s something that holds me in good stead as I move forward.

“I’ve had many opportunities in my career to interact successfully with Nokia (strategic relationships with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Macromedia).

“I will be establishing a residence here in Helsinki in the very hear future, as I look forward to working with you and meeting with you on a very frequent occasion.

“In four years, when I am at the next Winter Olympics, my loyalties will be somewhat divided between Canada and Finland, as they face off.”