Nokia’s corporate restructuring efforts continued today as the equipment vendor broke up its Customer Operations business into two geographic regions that will be headed by new leadership. The move will also see the current global head of that department and long-time Nokia executive leave the company on Jan. 1, 2019.
Ricky Corker, who is currently executive vice president and president for North America at Nokia, has been appointed president of Customer Operations for Nokia’a Americas region. That includes all of the Western Hemisphere. Corker in that new position will report directly to Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri. And beginning Jan. 1 Corker will join Nokia’s Group Leadership Team.
Corker has led Nokia’s efforts in North America, which has seen a number of significant 5G contracts signed over the past several months and been a bright spot at the vendor. However, the company did recently lose some business at Verizon that Suri said was “unfortunate.”
Nokia also appointed Federico Guillén President of Customer Operations for Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia. Guillén is currently president of Nokia’s fixed networks business. He also sits on the board of Nokia’s Shanghai Bell joint venture in China.
Guillén will continue to report to Suri and remain a member of the Group Leadership Team. Nokia plans to announce a new exec to head up its fixed network business “in due course.”
Suri linked the moves to the telecom industry’s push into 5G services.
“As we enter the 5G era, extreme customer focus is a must,” Suri said in a statement. “The changes we are announcing today will ensure that we continue to have the senior management capacity necessary for superb customer relationships in a world of increasing speed and complexity.”
Nokia’s current Customer Operations leader Ashish Chowdhary is the one left without a chair and will depart the company on Jan. 1. But don’t feel too bad for Chowdhary. Nokia noted that he will at that time take a “leadership position in another company.”
Chowdhary has been at Nokia for 15 years, having held various leadership positions in the vendor’s geographical-based units and head of its Global Services Business Unit.
Nokia had previously stated plans to create a new enterprise-focused group that will be headed by Kathrin Buvac who is currently its chief strategy officer. She will report directly to Suri and will remain on the company’s leadership team.
The management reorganization continues Nokia’s push to boost its operations.
During the company’s third quarter earnings call, executives told investors that while it has achieved early success in 5G by securing a number of operator deals, the company will still need to significantly reduce its operating expenses. Nokia plans to do this by adding more automation to its systems, simplifying some of its processes, and significantly reducing its support functions. It also will prioritize its research and development so it stops investing in legacy products.
Nokia earlier this month also scored a contract with India-based consulting firm Infosys to combine their offerings into a digital transformation platform targeted at enterprise customers. Nokia explained that the partnership continues the expansion of its focus outside of its traditional telecom space.