April 29. Nokia appoints Rajeev Suri as its new Chief Executive. Rajeev who? Well, Suri is actually no stranger to Nokia as before his appointment he was then leading Nokia Solutions and Networks, the company’s network equipment unit before its handset business was sold to software giant Microsoft for over $7B.
Incidentally, Suri’s another native Indian CEO like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella who graduated from the Manipal Institute of Technology. He now joins an elite group of Indians who heads global companies, and which includes PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi and MasterCard Chief Ajay Banga among others. Interesting. If only for managing, Indians are proving to be a capable breed indeed.
Suri has since joined Nokia in 1995 and in 2007, he then headed NSN’s Asia Pacific region. As an “insider”, this opportunity became his ticket to the Top post where he made a big splash by beating expectations with a core operating profit margin of 9.3 percent in the first quarter, much ahead of the forecasted 5.7 percent as polled by Reuters.
Good for Suri. But would it really be good for Nokia? Is more than 20 years of experience a determining factor in anointing a chosen leader? Is one quarter of good performance enough to say that this guy is really a turnaround leader?
The author doesn’t think so. Experience is just about exposure – hey, it’s character that stands up to pressure. Hence, a more accurate gauge could be seen through one’s policies and strategies, in short, it’s all about continuity. Does Suri have that kind of program, that mindset? Well, his unreliance on postgraduate degrees says so.
What’s your take?