May 27, 2014 / 8:31 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Finland's Nokian Renkaat hires Kone executive as CEO

(Adds board chairman and analyst comments)

HELSINKI, May 27 (Reuters) - Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat named Ari Lehtoranta from lift manufacturer Kone to replace long-serving Chief Executive Kim Gran when he retires at the end of September.

The timing of Gran’s departure, announced on Tuesday, was earlier than some had expected and prompted a fall in the company’s shares.

“Last year he gave a somehow different impression, that he would stay for a bit longer,” said Nordea analyst Rauli Juva. Gran will turn 60 in September.

“I had also expected that Gran’s successor would have been picked from inside the company. An outsider might spark some concern among investors.”

Since he took the helm of Nokian Renkaat in 2000, Gran has led its bold expansion in Russia, helping the firm become one of Finland’s largest companies. Its market value has grown tenfold during his tenure.

“Kim (Gran) doesn’t have a twin brother 10 years younger than him and we can’t clone him,” joked board chairman Petteri Wallden.

“Ari (Lehtoranta) is very experienced and clear, a no bullshit-type of man. A top guy, we thought.”

Lehtoranta, 51, is Kone’s executive vice-president for Central and North Europe.

“He has done some projects in Russia too, of course not as extensively as our company does,” Wallden said.

Nokian Renkaat shares fell 2.1 percent to 31.12 euros by 0800 GMT. (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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