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Nokia realigns U.S. efforts in attempt to better serve carriers

Nokia Corp. has created a new executive position-president of Nokia Inc., the vendor’s North American arm-to lead its efforts in the United States, where the world’s leading handset vendor has struggled in a carrier-controlled landscape split between GSM and CDMA technologies.
Mark Louison, currently head of Nokia’s networks business in North America, will assume the new post July 1, effectively replacing Tim Eckersley, a senior vice president who currently leads efforts in this region. Eckersley’s future plans will be announced later, the company said last week.
The change in North American leadership appears to reflect, in part, an increase in competitive pressures in the handset business as the market matures and growth slows. Nokia may also be seizing an opportunity to revamp its U.S. efforts at a time when arch-rival Motorola Inc. struggles to restore its profit margins and may be distracted by billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s bid to join its board.
Nokia is also in the process of realigning its sales and marketing efforts in the U.S. by relocating sales support personnel closer to the vendor’s carrier customers, according to Laurie Armstrong, a corporate spokeswoman.
That means, in part, moving Nokia sales people to Atlanta to serve Cingular Wireless and to Seattle to serve T-Mobile USA Inc., Armstrong said. (Both carriers employ GSM technology. Nokia continues to serve the CDMA market and U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless by outsourcing its handsets.) Some sales support jobs will move from Irving, Texas, outside Dallas, to White Plains, N.Y., Nokia’s U.S. corporate headquarters.
The changes are expected to be complete by the end of June. Armstrong said that the vendor’s sales and marketing teams will neither expand nor contract; the focus is on realigning existing personnel to better serve carrier customers.
“These changes are a reflection of our continued commitment to serve the North American market,” Armstrong said. “Tim Eckersley has done a fantastic job. But as everyone knows, Nokia has not been without its struggles in the U.S.”
Nokia currently tackles its North American operations from nine major locations, according to Armstrong.
White Plains serves as corporate hub in the U.S., where among others, Nokia’s global chief financial officer, chief technical officer and head of human relations are located. The company’s global investor relations office and enterprise solutions arm also are located in White Plains.
A Nokia research center is located in Cambridge, Mass., where the company collaborates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another research center is located in Palo Alto, Calif., to facilitate partnerships in Silicon Valley and at Stanford University. A facility in Boston works on software, sales, research and enterprise efforts. The Irving, Texas, location has served a role in customer care, operations, logistics and marketing and will be the U.S. headquarters for the Nokia-Siemens infrastructure group. San Diego is the site of a facility that works on GSM product creation as well as CDMA activities.
These U.S. locations are complemented by three offices in Canada; one in Ajax, outside of Toronto (corporate offices), one in Ottawa (marketing, customer support) and one in Vancouver (multimedia development).

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