Nokia had its eye on other executives to lead the company before it settled for current CEO Stephen Elop, according to a Wall Street Journal report on a book by former Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila. Ollila's memoir was released in Finland on Friday, and it says that there was a definite preferred choice for Nokia. Ollila does not reveal the name of the candidate, bu he says that he was "the No. 2 man at a well-known American technology company."
The candidate is said to have been in his 50s, and he reportedly withdrew himself from the selection process for personal reasons. Turning to Elop, Nokia's board found a younger candidate that they believed was "a good salesman and a decisive corporate executive."
Elop's tenure at the reins of Nokia has seen the cell phone maker struggling to remain relevant in the face of fierce competition from Samsung, Apple and others. It was Elop, a former Microsoft executive, that pushed for the Finnish phone maker to switch to the Windows Phone platform and abandon its own Symbian operating system. Elop came under no small amount of criticism for the Windows Phone decision, with some even speculating that the executive was a "Trojan horse" planted by Microsoft to lower the value of the company in order to make it a more attractive acquisition.
The years following saw Nokia's sales continuing to drop as competitors shipped newer devices with larger app libraries. Only recently have Nokia's fortunes begun to improve, with the phone maker seeing improving Lumia sales, due in part to their low cost.
In early September, Microsoft and Nokia announced that the software giant would be buying Nokia's phone business for $7.2 billion. With that purchase, Elop's tenure as Nokia CEO came to an end, and he was paid $25 million for his efforts at the company. He is currently seen by some as a lead candidate to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but his current position will be to oversee the Devices and Services segment as it relates to Nokia.