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Nokia’s Dealmaking Chairman Steps Down After Earnings Shock

The announcement that Chairman Siilasmaa will step down comes a month after the company's COO stepped down.

Nokia Oyj Chairman Risto Siilasmaa is stepping down, the network equipment maker’s second high-profile departure since an October profit warning.

Company veteran Sari Baldauf will take over the role in 2020, according to a statement. Siilasmaa helped to shape Nokia with a string of deals including the sale of its mobile handset business to Microsoft Corp. and the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

The Finnish company cut its profit outlook and suspended its dividend in October as heavy spending to catch up with competitors in fifth-generation mobile networks delays an earnings boost from the technology.

Nokia shares have lost more than a third of their value this year.

“We are in the midst of another transition now, with the historic move to 5G,” said Siilasmaa, 53. “While we know that Nokia is facing some short-term challenges as the technology matures, I am confident that we have the right actions underway to address those issues.”

The company said last month that Chief Operating Officer Joerg Erlemeier will step down after the company decided to discontinue the role.

Baldauf was executive vice president and general manager of Nokia’s networks business from 1998 to 2005, and part of former Chairman Jorma Ollila’s “dream team” at a time when Nokia was, briefly, Europe’s biggest company.

The appointment is subject to her re-election to the board at the shareholder meeting planned for April 8, 2020, Nokia said.

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