Nokia plans to appoint former networks head Sari Baldauf as chairman

(Reuters) – Telecoms equipment maker Nokia (HE:NOKIA) announced on Tuesday that it plans to appoint its former networks chief Sari Baldauf as chairman, succeeding Risto Siilasmaa who will step down after eight years in the job.

The chairman is the top executive role at Nokia, which in

October cut its outlook for this year and next because of the need to step up its investments in 5G – news that knocked a third off its share price.

It also suspended dividend payments to conserve cash and pledged to speed up the introduction of new 5G chipsets.

Baldauf, 64, will be one of the most high-profile female executives in the telecoms industry globally. She headed Nokia’s networks unit – now the company’s main business – between 1998 and 2005 and currently sits on the board of Nokia.

In a statement on Tuesday she said that she sees a clear opportunity to help create long-term shareholder value, working with CEO Rajeev Suri.

“Rajeev and his team are working hard to address both the short-term issues and strengthen Nokia’s longer-term value drivers,” she said.

Her appointment is subject to shareholder approval at the group’s annual general meeting in April.

Siilasmaa, 53, played a central role in revamping the Finnish company from cellphone maker with a network arm into a top three telecom equipment maker globally.

Nokia, however, was wrong-footed in waiting for 5G radio standards to come into force late last year, while rivals were quicker to revamp products in anticipation of early rollouts in the United States and South Korea, industry sources and analysts have said.