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The Nokia/Shell connection

Thursday August 4, 01:37 PM
From Yahoo! news

After engineering Nokia turnaround, Ollila sets sights on Shell

HELSINKI (AFP) - After leading mobile phone giant Nokia through one of the business world's greatest success stories, chairman and chief executive Jorma Ollila said that he is to switch next year to pursue a career in oil as Royal Dutch Shell non-executive chairman.
Ollila, whose departure from Nokia had been announced on Monday, said that he would take up the post at Shell next June.
He is seen as the guiding hand which led the once struggling Finnish mobile phone maker to become the absolute world leader in its field, with stock today listed on five major exchanges.
After 20 years with Nokia, Ollila said on Thursday that he was looking forward to trying something new.
''I look forward to working closely with Jeroen van der Veer and the Royal Dutch Shell Board. This is a wonderful opportunity with a great global company at a pivotal time for the energy industry. I look forward to being part of the team in The Hague,'' he said in a statement Thursday.
Born in Seinaejoki in Eastern Finland in 1950, Ollila, who is the father of three and holds three Masters degrees in political, economic and technological sciences, joined Nokia in 1985 from the Finnish branch of Citibank.
In 1991, when he headed Nokia's struggling mobile phone unit, Ollila was approached by the then chairman of Nokia, Casimir Ehrnrooth, to discuss ways of turning around the company which was facing huge financial difficulties.
Ollila created his own management team and presented an ambitious strategy to restructure the industrial conglomerate, which sold everything from television sets to rubber boats, to concentrate on telecommunications, when he took the helm of the company in 1992.
Since then, Nokia has grown at breathtaking speed, becoming one of the world's most successful companies both in the mobile phone and telecommunications infrastructure markets.
''I strongly believe in renewal at all levels of the Nokia company,'' the company chief said in his statement on Thursday.
Ollila, who is now the best paid chief executive in Finland, so successfully turned the mobile phone behemoth around that he caught Shell's attention.
''We were looking world-wide for a chairman with international standing, a global outlook, and proven success in managing a complex organization. In Jorma Ollila we found all these qualities, and more,'' Shell's deputy chairman Lord Kerr of Kinlochard said in a statement.
Ollila will be the first Finnish executive to hold such a high-level position in a major multi-national corporation.
He already serves on numerous boards, including that of the Ford Motor Company, and is a member of several professional organizations, including the European Roundtable of Industrialists and the United Nations Information and Communications Technology Task Force.
The Finn's active engagement and dedication to sustainable development have also earned him worldwide respect, many orders of merit and international recognition last year for corporate philanthropy.
Ollila has said that he will leave Nokia on June 1, 2006, but plans to continue as the non-executive chairman of the company.
''These have been exciting, unforgettable years. I remain strongly committed to Nokia and am keen to continue contributing to Nokia's strategy and renewal, helping it to build on its position as the undisputed leader in mobility,'' Ollila said.

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:07am