Last week, when we received a tip-off that Nokia had appointed Irishman Conor Pierce as UK MD, over six months had passed since his predecessor left in a cloud of smoke.
The top UK role had been looked after in a caretaking capacity by retail chief Sami Lehtinen, who many thought would step into the position on a full-time basis.
But Nokia had other plans. It had been busy securing former MD of Nokia Ireland and Nokia Turkey (yes, that joke crossed our minds, too) as it ramps up plans to save its UK position.
And ramping up Nokia certainly is. As Mobile went to press, the Finnish manufacturer was poised for a big handset announcement – and who could forget the huge deal forged with Microsoft earlier this year.
But Nokia is under attack from all angles. Not only is it facing a threat from the new players such as Apple, RIM and HTC, it is also under pressure from its old rivals, who, like Nokia, have fallen behind in the smartphone race but are spending this year doing some ramping up of their own.
Sony Ericsson is arguably back after the launch of its Xperia Play and Arc handsets. Meanwhile, LG has pledged to grab smartphone share with a plethora of launches on the cards in the coming months. Samsung is about to launch its follow up to the Galaxy S, and HTC, well, HTC has it all. The Taiwanese manufacturer that only stormed into the market a year ago has one of the biggest ranges out there at the moment.
And these manufacturers are busy inspiring store staff to sell their products. Sony Ericsson has even launched its Ambassador programme to get to those who matter most – the people who sell phones.
Unfortunately, despite the relative success of the N8, Nokia isn’t inspiring store staff – and it needs to. And then there’s the OS issue. Symbian is dead in the water, and Nokia’s first Microsoft handset isn’t due out until autumn – just enough time to allow the manufacturer’s rivals to steal a march.
So, it’s going to be a busy time for Nokia’s new MD Pierce, who is taking on the role at the end of this month. But Pierce, who has a good reputation among his peers, could be the man to turn it around. And with Nokia’s Q3 results looming, let’s hope the former Turkey MD isn’t a turkey.