Microsoft exec Elop hired as Nokia's CEO

Microsoft executive Stephen Elop will replace Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as chief executive of Nokia Corp. on Sept. 21, the firm announced Friday.

"The time is right to accelerate the company's renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success," said Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila in a statement. "We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders."

Elop, a Canadian citizen who currently heads Microsoft's Business Division, will be Nokia's first non-Finnish CEO. Nokia remains the world's largest mobile phone maker but has lost ground against rivals such as Apple, HTC and Research in Motion in the market for high-end smartphones. Elop has held positions at several prominent technology firms, including Juniper Networks and Adobe Systems.

"His strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company," Ollila added. 

In a statement Elop said he was excited about the position and dedicated to strengthening Nokia's position as the leader of the mobile communications industry. He previously worked as president and CEO of Macromedia until its acquisition by Adobe in 2005, and earned a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Reports of the board's search for a new chief executive first surfaced in July. Kallasvuo will step down and give up his seat on the board on Sept. 20.