Nokia’s emerging markets chief D Shivakumar quits, to move back to India

Nokia's operations chief for India, West Asia and Africa, D Shivakumar is moving out of the handset major, in the second such top level people move related to mobile handset industry in India. Early this month Sunil Dutt, managing director of BlackBerry India (previously Research In Motion or RIM), quit the company after just over a year at the helm of affairs in a market which is increasingly being dominated by Samsung at the top end and local handset brands at the mass end.

D Shivakumar, who had joined Nokia around eight years ago after a stint at Philips India as its sales and marketing chief, is headed back to India and is not likely to be associated with telecom or FMCG as a business, according to The Economic Times, which first reported his exit.

Shivakumar, who had worked with FMCG major Hindustan Lever Ltd (now HUL) before moving to the electronics field, is currently based out of Dubai. In October 2011, he was elevated to lead a roster of around 90 countries spread across Africa and the Middle East, besides India, in what created one of the biggest blocks of emerging markets under a single unit for the Finnish company.

The move was part of a global organisational restructuring wherein Nokia consolidated its sales operations by clubbing together certain markets to form four regions – Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific (including China) and IMEA (India, Middle East and Africa).

Prior to that, he was country head for Nokia in India. He had taken over as the country head from Sanjeev Sharma, who was also offered an overseas assignment in the South-east Asia but opted out of it.

Once accounting for over half of all handsets sold in India, Nokia faced stiff competition from Samsung across both mass and top end of the market. The company, which drew its strength from mass-end handsets, also saw heavy competition from nifty local brands such as Micromax among others.

At the top end, the company has been struggling to compete with Samsung and Apple among others, having opted to stay out of Android operating system, which now dominates smartphones around the world and especially in India. The firm is now trying to regain its strength by going full throttle with Microsoft’s Windows OS for mobile handsets, which is yet to gain traction in India.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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