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Nokia hires former Ericsson exec to lead new strategy

STOCKHOLM/HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia on Thursday named rival Ericsson’s [ERICb.ST] former executive Nishant Batra as chief strategy and technology officer and member of its group leadership team, effective Jan. 18.

FILE PHOTO: The logo and ticker for Nokia are displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Chief Executive Officer Pekka Lundmark announced a new structure for Nokia in October which from Jan. 1 will have 11 members in the leadership team rather than 17.

Marcus Weldon, Nokia’s previous technology chief, stepped down late last month.

Under its new strategy, the Finnish company will give up on its longstanding end-to-end portfolio approach and operate under four business groups Mobile Networks, IP and Fixed Networks, Cloud and Network Services and Nokia Technologies.

The Finnish telecom equipment maker said Batra, who is currently CTO at auto technology group Veoneer, will be based initially in Finland and then move to the United States.

Originally from India, Batra previously spent more than a decade at Ericsson before joining Veoneer in 2018.

“The telecommunications industry is an exciting place to be at the moment with 5G now really taking off, and Nokia is right at the heart of it,” he said in a statement.

At Veoneer, Batra has been important in defining and developing the company’s scalable software architecture, and Veoneer announced in August it was teaming up with Qualcomm Technologies on developing a software and chip platform for driver-assistance systems.

The Swedish maker of vision systems, radars and driver-assistance software, said that Giuseppe Rosso, its current Vice President Systems & Software would be appointed acting CTO, with a permanent replacement to be communicated at a later date.

Other senior executives who have quit Nokia since the new structure was announced include Chief Marketing Officer Barry French and president of global services and member of the group’s leadership team Sanjay Goel.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm, additional reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki and editing by Johannes Hellstrom and Elaine Hardcastle

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