The Guardian (UK): Nokia chief to take charge at Shell “His appointment, which will run for an initial period of three years, marks a further step in the restructuring at Royal Dutch Shell in the wake of the reserves over-booking scandal last year.”: Friday August 5, 2005
Mark Milner and Richard Wray
Royal Dutch Shell has chosen the outgoing Nokia chief executive, Jorma Ollila, to become its £500,000-a-year non-executive chairman.
The new chief, who will replace Aad Jacobs, will be based in the Hague and will take up his new role in June next year.
His appointment, which will run for an initial period of three years, marks a further step in the restructuring at Royal Dutch Shell in the wake of the reserves over-booking scandal last year.
Mr Ollila, under whose stewardship Nokia was transformed into the world's leading mobile phone maker, was selected after a process which included executives from the US, Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere in continental Europe. His appointment is understood to have been approved unanimously by both the committee set up to find a new chairman and the Royal Dutch Shell board.
"This is a guy who is hugely excited by the big challenge. He is extremely lively, enthusiastic and active. He has terrific focus. This man is no retread," said one source close to the company.
The 54-year-old Finn does not have oil industry experience but this is not seen as a drawback. "I think it is important that he has a lot of international experience in the global environment. He does not have to know everything about oil because his role will be to supervise the company as a whole," said one European fund manager.
Mr Ollila was instrumental in taking the 140-year-old Nokia from a sprawling conglomerate, which spanned a host of businesses from the production of paper pulp to rubber gloves, into its position in the mobile phone market.
When he moved from heading up the company's fledgling mobile phone business to the chief executive's post in 1992 Mr Ollila set about selling off the company's non-core assets, including businesses that made tyres, televisions and loudspeakers.
Instead, the company invested heavily in the growing market for handsets, outpacing its fellow Scandinavian firm Ericsson in the process and finally beating the market leader Motorola into second place in 1998 as the sector exploded with the advent of pre-pay packages in many markets.
At the company's height, Nokia controlled 40% of the entire worldwide mobile phone market. In recent years, however, Nokia has seen its dominance of the market challenged by Asian manufacturers such as Samsung and LG.
Mr Ollila will become the non-executive chairman of Nokia when he steps down as chief executive.
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