Nokia names new CFO; Pullola to depart in August

Continuing along its period of transition, Nokia has tapped Marco Wirén as the vendor’s new finance chief, effective September 1.

Wirén is replacing current CFO Kristian Pullola, who held the role since 2017 and will step down at the end of August but remain with the company to help with the transition until the end of the year.

Outgoing CEO Rajeev Suri said that Nokia’s future chief executive Pekka Lundmark helped complete the succession planning process in picking Wirén to lead finance. Suri’s departure was announced in March, with Lundmark taking the reins in September. 

“I am pleased that Marco will be joining us to take the reins of Nokia along with our future CEO, Pekka Lundmark,” stated Suri, who initiated the search with support from the board.

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Like Lundmark, Wirén is coming from the energy sector, where he’s currently the president of Finland-based Wärtsilä Energy and executive vice president of Wärtsilä Group. Wärtsilä focuses on the energy and marine industries, aiming to maximize environmental and economic performance of its customers’ ships and power plants.

Lundmark in a statement praised Wirén’s “deep financial and leadership experience, a sharp focus on driving operational excellence and a demonstrated record of success.”

“He also brings an extensive background in business-to-business and technology companies,” Lundmark added.

Wirén previously served in CFO roles at Wärtsilä Group; global specialized steel company SSAB Group; and Eltel Networks, a Nordic company providing field and technician services to the electrical and telecommunications industries. Wirén also is vice board chair of Neste.

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Current Nokia CFO Pullola has been with Nokia for 21 years and was involved the company’s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016 and the sale of its Devices business to Microsoft.

“His commitment, integrity and deep belief in Nokia and its values has served as an example to all of us. I have worked closely with him in both good times and bad, and could not have asked for a more dedicated, intelligent colleague,” Suri said in a statement regarding Pullola. “All of Nokia owes him their thanks and he certainly has mine.”

The CFO announcement follows Sari Baldauf’s take over as chair of the Board of Directors last month, succeeding Risto Siilsmaa, who chaired the firm for eight years.

The executive changes also follow what Suri had called “a challenging year” for Nokia in 2019. That was in part due to high costs of its “ReefShark” 5G chipset, which the company has made a focus to overcome in 2020.   

Nokia recently missed out on major 5G contracts with China’s three mobile operators, with deals going largely to domestic vendors like Huawei and ZTE, as well as rival Ericsson.