HELSINKI, March 14 Rajeev Suri, the head of
Nokia's telecoms network equipment division, is
likely to become the Finnish group's next chief executive
following the sale of its handset business to Microsoft
, a newspaper report said on Friday.
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, citing sources familiar with
board discussions, said Suri was the strongest candidate to
succeed Stephen Elop who is due to move to Microsoft once the
5.4 billion euro ($7.5 billion) handset deal is closed.
The companies have been expecting to finalise the deal by
the end of March, and the newspaper said the board of Nokia
would nominate a new chief executive shortly after that.
Indian-born Suri has been widely considered the leading
candidate for the post as in recent years he has helped the
network equipment division, Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN),
turn profitable with a drastic restructuring plan and by
ditching unprofitable businesses.
However, NSN recently reported its fourth-quarter sales fell
22 percent from a year earlier, raising concerns about its
NSN, which was originally a joint venture of Nokia and
Siemens, accounts for about 90 percent of Nokia's
sales after the handset deal.
Nokia declined to comment on the CEO selection process.
Since last autumn, the company has been temporarily led by chief
financial officer Timo Ihamuotila.
"We will talk more about the Nokia strategy, structure and
organisation around the closing of the pending transaction,"
said spokeswoman Maija Taimi.