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Nokia Ready to Boot CEO Kallasvuo Reports

Nokia has begun the search, in earnest, for someone to replace CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, according to the Wall Street Journal. And analysts say Kallasvuos successor needs Silicon Valley thinking as Nokia tries to stay ahead of rivals Apple Inc. and Research In Motion.

The Apple brand promises fun, the BlackBerry brand stands for serious work, but what does Nokia stand for? Ulf Moritzen, analyst at Hamburg-based Aramea Asset Management, told Bloombergs BusinessWeek. Nokia needs someone who positions the company in an aggressive and clear way.

In the past week, calls for Kallasvuos resignation have mounted as Nokia has yet to deliver a slim touchscreen smartphone that competes with the iPhone and BlackBerry. Nokia remains the worlds largest cellphone maker, but soon could lose that grip as Apple, most of all, dominates the consumer handset market. Through it all, Kallasvuo has become an impotent leader, seemingly unable to do more than restructure Nokia twice in seven months  and revise earnings forecasts, downward. The time has come, analysts say, for Nokia to boot Kallasvuo in favor of someone more savvy and able to turn around the struggling company.

It would be a very good step to have an outside CEO with very good software experience, whos run a company before, Michiel Plakman of Robeco NV in Rotterdam, told BusinessWeek. Investors are very, very negative and skeptical on the progress Nokia has been making.

To that point, the Wall Street Journal says Nokia, headquartered in Finland, has interviewed two U.S. candidates for Kallasvuos job. Nokia, of course, will not confirm those reports. Finding the right person wont be easy Nokia is a giant company and needs someone with a certain set of skills. Locating that executive could take time, although Nokia apparently hopes to name Kallasvuos replacement by the end of July.

Nokia will hold its quarterly earnings call on July 22. Analysts expect lower net income and flat sales.

Shares of Nokia were trading 6 cents higher a little after noon ET on Tuesday, at $8.88.


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