NOKIA has announced plans to return over half of its €5.44bn (£4.48bn) windfall from the sale of its devices division to Microsoft back to shareholders.
The Finnish mobile firm also appointed 46-year-old Rajeev Suri, formerly head of Nokia’s telecoms equipment business Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) as chief executive to lead the firm following the close of the Microsoft deal on Friday.
Suri, known as a turnaround specialist in global tech circles following his transformation of NSN from less than a third of Nokia’s revenues in 2009 to over half, will assume his new role effective tomorrow.
The announcements came along with the company’s first quarter results which saw Nokia’s operating profit from its continuing operations grow 10 per cent to €216m beating expectations.
Nokia will return €3bn to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks as part of a larger €5bn programme to optimise the firm’s capital structure following the Microsoft deal.
“As Nokia opens this new chapter, the Nokia Board and I are confident that Rajeev is the right person to lead the company forward,” chairman Risto Siilasmaa said on Suri’s appointment.
“With the closing of our transaction with Microsoft, Nokia begins a new era. With our strategic direction now set, our highly talented teams can focus fully on realizing our vision by building on Nokia’s three strong businesses…” Nokia’s shares rose 2.9 per cent in Helsinki on the news to close at €5.29 per share.
NOKIA’S NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE RAJEEV SURI
Suri is a veteran Nokia employee having joined the firm in 1995
He will lead Nokia’s mapping, infrastructure and research arms
A turnaround specialist
Nokia’s infrastructure arm went from less than a third of revenues to over half under his watch