The Nokia Story Part 2


A good call

In terms of strategic development, 1992 was  a pivotal year for Nokia. Not only did Nokia appoint Jorma Ollila as its new president and CEO, but it also decided to focus its future business development on the telecommunications side of the business. Accordingly, it gradually sold off its interests in rubber, cable and consumer electronics.

Prior to joining Nokia in 1985, Ollila, born in 1950, spent eight years in corporate banking at Citibank. He'd also accumulated master's degrees in economics, engineering and politics. He had been promoted to head of finance and chief of the mobile phone section in 1990.

The era of Ollila brought some calm to Nokia, following a period of internal fighting and financial problems. Tragically, the company's previous CEO, Kari Kairamo, had committed suicide in 1988, following a prolonged bout of manic depression. It's believed that heavy losses incurred by the television manufacturing division played a part in his decision to take his own life. With Ollila's long-term vision for the company came the end of some of the more historic elements of the business. The rubber, cable and consumer electronics sections were sold off gradually, allowing Nokia to invest heavily in mobile phones and the manufacture of telecommunication systems. The next few years proved a roll-call of innovative roll-outs from Nokia:

• 1992: Nokia launches its first G5M handset, the Nokia 1011

• 1994: Nokia launches the first phone to feature the Nokia Tuner and the world's first satellite call is made, using, (of course) a Nokia G5M handset

•• 1998: Just six years following Oliila's appointment and subsequent strategic decision, Nokia was leading the world in mobile phones, selling more than any other company and winning praise in the global business press.

In 2000 came the widely acknowledged telecoms industry crash. At the time, Ollila and his wife were refurbishing their 200-year-old home north of Helsinki. Instead of diving for cover, Ollila pushed ahead with his vision for Nokia. His determination has been noted in the press; Time magazine described Ollila in 2003 as a 'charming, bookish CEO', who has 'transformed the 136-year-old firm from a faceless conglomerate to a tech wunderkind'.

In 2006, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, formerly Nokia's chief financial officer, took over as CEO from Jorma Ollila, who had served at Nokia for 13 years. Ollila became a part-time chairman of Nokia's board of directors, and also took on the roles of non-executive chairman of Royal Dutch Shell and the Ford Motor Company.

Born on 13 July 1953 in Lavia, Finland, Kallasvuo was very much a Nokia man. A 25-year Nokia veteran, he joined Nokia in 1980 as corporate counsel armed with a master's degree in law from Helsinki University and steadily but rapidly progressed up the company ranks.

It hadn't all been plain sailing during the reign of Ollila; he did preside over a difficult and extremely competitive time for the communications market and was occasionally the target of criticism. Analysts and investors have criticised Ollila for his reluctance to bring out new, all-singing, all-dancing models, at a time when competitors were introducing cameras, and music features.

However, it's tempting to suggest you'd be hard pressed to find a more suitable or experienced pair of hands for Ollila to hand over to. Kallasvuo, however, knew he had some big shoes to fill and wasn't complacent about it. 'Mr Ollila is a hard act to follow. But I am not looking back, I am looking forward to the tasks and challenges ahead; Kallasvuo once told the Financial Times.

True to his word, in 2006 Kallasvuo guided Nokia through a merger of its networks business and the carrier related operations of create a new company, Nokia Siemens Networks. In his lighter moments, he admits to a love of golf, tennis and political history.

Nokia Today?
With the ever-increasing media meshing of mobile communications with computing, digital imaging and the internet, Nokia positions itself firmly at the forefront of this converging industry and claims it will continue in its historic path of communication and cutting edge innovation. That's not to say the road may not be bumpy. In conversation on the topic of convergence in October 2006, Kallsavuo told the Economist: 'We have to be extremely careful that we don't go in the Swiss army knife kind of direction where we lose focus on what the consumer wants:

And if numbers are anything to go by, the consumer is happy. In 2007, Nokia was heralded as the fifth most valued brand in the world. This coincided with the launch of-Nokia Siemens Networks and the launch of Ovi, its new internet services brand.

This continued development and innovation cements Nokia's well-deserved reputation as a true pioneer in telecommunications. From humble beginnings it is now the self-declared world leader in mobility, the world's largest camera manufacturer and a leader in digital music.

Nokia believes there will be around two billion mobile phone users at the end of 2008. It sees mobility as the fastest growing technology in the history of mankind. They also envisage around four billion people being connected by mobile devices by the end of 2009. Much

of this enormous growth is coming from China, India and other fast-developing countries where mobiles are becoming the core phone system, bypassing fixed line phones altogether for most of the population. Every third mobile sold in the world is a Nokia. In the second quarter of 2008, it enjoyed a 40% market share of the global device market. By far Finland's largest company, with its headquarters in Espoo, it accounts for a third of the market capitalisation of the Helsinki stock exchange. It had 112,000 employees at the end of 2007.

It seems ironic that a company which began partly as a forestry business, inevitably a fairly slow-moving trade, and partly as a cable manufacturer is now poised for further substantial growth in one of the world's fastest moving sectors based on cable-free communication. Perhaps the ultimate proof that bold, agile businesses can turn threats into opportunities? One thing, though, seems sure: that the Nokia ringtone will be heard many more times over the coming years

Nokia inc. today did not achieve success overnight. It was started by a young man at the age of 27. The Nokia story demonstrated that it is not how one started that  matter in any undertaking but the determination to follow time tested business Business.

Nokia, more than anything demonstrated the physicality of the aphorism, "Change is constant" as it successfully moved from a mere forestry company to become world Pioneer and leader in GSM. Many companies opted to fold up when they faced Business Storm while companies like Nokia know how to re-invent and adapt to the changing Business Climate.

Most importantly, it, like other great businesses started from the mind of the youths. Why then, are our youths thinking that live begin at 40 and that they must start growing Gay hairs before they put their ideas to work? And why are some elders always overlooking the small ideas from determined youths? Like Fredrik Idesta, some other great businesses are invention of the youths, Alliko Dangote, Bill Gates, Warren  Buffet, Molade Okoya, Steve Jobs etc are all young men who decided to go against the established order and put their ideas to work.

It was never easy victory and they have to navigate the terrain through years of hard work and of course stories of lost. In the end, they created something that the rest of us are proud of. The Nokia story is a wake up call to both youth and old to look within, start from where we are and also look beyond the immediate gain. It is a common observation today to see our youths running after security even when they can easily create something better. No wonder, we are not moving forward.

So when next you turn on the Nokia phone, remember it is not an overnight success. arise and create something from where you are. leave a lasting legacy to those coming after you. This is the only way we can make our world a better place.

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