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Nokia reckons it doesn’t need a COO anymore

Joerg Erlemeier, a Nokia lifer who is currently its Chief Operating Officer, is calling it a day at the end of the year and Nokia won’t be replacing him.

To be honest we didn’t know Nokia even had a COO, but then again it’s not traditionally one of the more high profile top jobs. Your classic COO usually contents themselves with staying behind the scenes, attending to the day to day running of the company while the CEO flies around doing deals and other important stuff.

Here’s what Erlemeier has been up to in his quarter of a century at the company, according to the Nokia site:

  • Senior Vice President, Integration, Nokia, 2015
  • Vice President, Global Services, Europe, Nokia, 2015
  • Head of Delivery, North America market, Nokia, 2013/14
  • Head of Program Management Office, Nokia Siemens Networks, 2012
  • Head of Middle East & Africa, Nokia Siemens Networks, 2009 – 2011
  • Held several executive level positions in Nokia/Nokia Siemens Networks, 1994 – 2009

Erlemeier’s LinkedIn has him doing a variety of restructuring, integration and transformation roles in recent years, which may imply he had a big part in the whole Alcatel-Lucent process. Either way, he’s off to spend more time in the golf course and Nokia doesn’t think it needs a COO anymore. Instead it’s going to get the rest of the C-suite to work harder.

“Joerg has been a long-time, trusted colleague,” said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri. “He leaves the company with my thanks and deep appreciation for his many important contributions.”

“After 25 years at Nokia, I am ready to take on new challenges,” said Erlemeier. “While the company is in the midst of a transition, I leave firm in my belief that the right plan is in place to improve future performance. I wish the company and all my colleagues the very best.”

Hardly the most touching eulogy from Suri, was it? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Nokia seems to have binned the COO role first, not as a result of Erlemeier’s resignation. In other words he got the boot. To what extent this move is linked to Nokia’s 5G missteps is unknown, but companies don’t tend to get rid of senior execs when everything’s going well, do they?


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