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Nokia's new CEO working on setting strategy in 'dream job'

FILE PHOTO: Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of Finnish state-controlled utility Fortum, poses after a news conference in Duesseldorf

By Supantha Mukherjee and Anne Kauranen

STOCKHOLM/HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia’s new chief executive Pekka Lundmark said he will take time to re-acquaint himself with the Finnish telecom equipment maker as he works toward setting a strategy, as the company jostles for position in the highly political 5G race.

U.S. government pressure to limit the use of China’s Huawei presents an opportunity for Nokia as next generation technology is rolled out, but Lundmark would not be drawn.

“Maintaining good relations with governments in pretty much all parts of the world is extremely important,” Lundmark said in a video interview with Reuters on Friday. “We are talking to governments in different parts of the world, but that’s pretty much business as usual for us.”

He also declined to disclose his thinking on Nokia’s broad range of product portfolio and strategy. The company made product mis-steps last year, although it managed an unexpected rise in second-quarter underlying profit as it took on less low-margin business.

    “What we will be doing now is to preview the current plans and then potentially make new plans as to how we develop the portfolio,” said Lundmark, who took on the Nokia top job last weekend.

“I have theories and ideas in my mind, but again day five is far too early to talk about them.”

He said he hoped to be able to give more detail “before the end of the year”.

Lundmark will work closely with Sari Baldauf, one of the most high-profile female leaders in the global telecoms industry, who took over as chairwoman of Nokia earlier this year.

“The board absolutely expect management to prepare the strategic direction and then present it to them,” he said.

Lundmark previously spent 10 years working in Nokia’s network business in the 1990s and then 20 years working elsewhere. Most recently he was CEO of Finnish energy company Fortum.

    “This job is my dream job,” he said of his new role. “It’s definitely kind of a homecoming for me.”

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Anne Kauranen in Helsinki; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Frances Kerry)

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