CEO Pekka Lundmark says Nokia won’t change its name as it tries to shed its cell phone past

Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark gives a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 28, 2023.
Pau Barrena—AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

If you are like me, you probably still think of Nokia as a cell phone company. But in fact, it has been nearly a decade since Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft, which in turn sold the phone naming rights to HMD. The Finnish company has since turned to B2B telecommunications. And this week, it is launching an effort to remind the world of the change with a new brand image and a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

I spoke with CEO Pekka Lundmark shortly after his keynote and asked him why he was making ESG one of the pillars of his company’s refreshed strategy. (You can read Lundmark’s blog post on the new strategy here.) He responded by talking first about the company’s efforts to reduce network power consumption and to develop network software that optimizes power usage. Then he turned to geopolitics:

“We are not a geopolitical actor. But in today’s world, everything we are doing is in one way or another influenced by politics. Our competitiveness is strong, and geopolitics seems to be favoring us. In many parts of the world, the position of Chinese vendors is weakening….We are testing all our business strategies against geopolitics. The megatrends seem to be favoring us. And we see great opportunities to take market share.”

I asked Lundmark if he had considered changing the name of the company, to shake the cell phone taint. His response:  

“Never…We believe there is so much heritage and value in the company itself.”

Lundmark made several proud references during our conversation to technology innovation at “Nokia Bell Labs,” which of course were originally part of AT&T before that company was broken into pieces. The fabled New Jersey labs went to Lucent, then to Alcatel, before coming to rest at Nokia.

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Alan Murray


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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Jackson Fordyce. 

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