Rajeev Suri becomes new Nokia CEO

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Rajeev Suri becomes new Nokia CEO
Rajeev Suri

Returns €1 billion to shareholders.

Nokia has named Rajeev Suri, the man who transformed its once ailing network equipment unit, as its new chief executive.

Suri is credited with turning Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) around, a unit which last year contributed most of the €12.7 billion (A$19 billion) revenue Nokia generated from its continuing operations.

The network unit was long in the red, but turned profitable in 2012 after Suri slashed costs and shed unprofitable businesses.

"Rajeev is the right person to lead the company forward," Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa said in a statement.

"He has a proven ability to create strategic clarity, drive innovation and growth, ensure disciplined execution, and deliver results."

Last year, the NSN unit's sales were €11.3 billion, while navigation unit Here accounted for just €914 million, and its patent unit, dubbed Advance Technologies, made €529 million.

Nokia finalised the €5.4 billion sale of its struggling mobile phone business to Microsoft last week. It said it will now focus on its three remaining businesses covering networks, navigation and patents.

Analysts say management now needs to concentrate on winning more contracts as increasing research and development costs give bigger, deep-pocketed rivals an advantage.

Nokia has said it will make an aggressive push this year to gain market share against industry leader Ericsson as well as Chinese rival Huawei. Nokia has also said it aims for year-on-year sales growth in the second half of 2014.

The company also said it would pay stakeholders an extra €0.26 per share on top of the annual dividend of €0.11 last year. The extra dividend amounts to around €1 billion total, and the ordinary dividend will cost another €400 million.

Nokia also said it planned to give at least €0.11 as dividend for 2014 and start a €1.25 billion share repurchase program. It also plans to reduce debt by €2 billion.

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