New Delhi: D. Shivakumar, who was at the helm of Nokia India for six years before moving to a larger Middle East and East Africa role 18 months ago, has resigned from the handset manufacturing company.
Confirming the development, Nokia said in a statement that Shivakumar would continue till June. “He will stay with us in a consultancy role until end-June,” Chris Weber, global sales and marketing, executive vice-president, Nokia Oyj, said in an emailed statement.
Shivakumar, who joined Nokia in 2006, saw the handset maker’s sales surge to a 75% market share in the country and then fall to as low as 40%, amid intense competition from other manufacturers.
Currently in Dubai, Shivakumar oversees the company’s Asia-Pacific operations and is understood to have resigned as he wanted to return to India as he believes that’s where growth will come from. Shivakumar was the head of electronics company Philips before joining Nokia.
“I’ve done my bit for Nokia and felt it’s time to move on,” Shivakumar told Mint.
The timing of his exit has raised a number of questions among industry watchers, especially at a time when the company has just started seeing traction in its turnaround plan.
The handset maker’s market share slumped after the emergence of handsets from Apple and Samsung besides Research In Motion (now known as BlackBerry).
From a 40% market share globally in 2008, Nokia now commands less than a 20% share of total handset volume. The biggest hit to the India market share is considered to have come from Chinese manufacturers as Nokia was late to enter the multi-SIM handset market, which was 50% of total sales in 2011. Nokia has caught up in that segment.
According to data from Nokia, at the time Shivakumar joined the company, India had some 80 million mobile connections—it now has around 900 million.
Nokia continues to be the largest player by volume in India, but trails behind Samsung by value, and is also second by a long margin in the smartphone space.
Despite falling sales, India continues to be the second-largest market for the Finnish handset maker after China. India generated revenue to the tune of $2.227 billion in 2012 as against 2.923 billion in 2011 and 2.952 billion in 2010, Nokia said in its annual report.