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Jorma Ollila had been a visionary and charismatic leader for Nokia who took the reins of Nokia when it was facing serious difficulties and in his role as CEO he took the company to pinnacle before resigning in 2006. When he resigned Nokia was the market leader by huge distance in featurephones or smartphones and had 48% of smartphone market share leaving RIM in 2nd position at just 7.5%.


So, what went wrong for Nokia? Many reasons have been cited from this and may be all had their contributions in the downfall of Nokia as the smartphone leader. But, where was Jorma Ollila in all these times and why he didn’ try to save Nokia, the company he nurtured for so long. Answer is, perhaps he was a hands-off chairman unlike the hands-on charismatic CEO he once had been.

In a recent interview he said,

The execution of the plans started to increasingly falter in 2007 as a result of the organizational changes; Ollila says that as Chairman of the board, he had considered intervening in the operational activities of the company.

“I am quite sure that the execution would have been even messier if the Chairman of the board would have bypassed the CEO and started to take issue with operational matters.”

So, his reluctance in correcting the wrong path charted by his successors cost the execution of plans and finally Nokia’s chances,

According to Ollila, there were assurances from different parts of the organisation in 2008 and 2009 that Symbian could be upgraded, and made competitive.

“On the Board we had to trust that the messages coming from the organisation were accurate. After all, they had been accurate before. But suddenly the old confidence in the organisation was no longer there. The products started coming in behind schedule.”

This also brings to fore the fact that perhaps Ollila could never find a good successor for Nokia CEO post. If OPK was not competent enough then Elop had his plans which were more beneficial to “3rd eco-system” than Nokia.

Ollila says he was shocked and grieved to hear the news of Nokia’s Devices and Services division getting sold, but irony is that he was the only one who could have stopped this from happening!!

Just another Sunday rant!!

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