Wednesday, 16 March 2016 09:08

Former ‘burning platform’ Nokia CEO and MS exec, Stephen Elop, joins Telstra Featured

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It’s no April Fool’s joke, from 4 April 2016, former Microsoft exec and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is joining Telstra as ‘Group Executive Technology, Innovation and Strategy.’

No longer standing on a burning platform and advocating radical change to a Microsoft platform is Stephen Elop, the man who some claim was Microsoft’s Trojan Horse to bring ‘hope and change’ to Nokia and ensure a program of ‘fundamental transformation.’

Unfortunately, with most of Nokia ultimately shut down by Microsoft, it ended up a being a program of ‘change you can believe in’ that changed Nokia so much that Nokia no longer plays in the consumer space after having done so for decades.

Whether this was the Elop flop or not, it put Elop so over the top that he ended up tipping out of Microsoft altogether, having missed out after having been part of the potential Microsoft CEO crop.

Ok, so stop. Perhaps I’m mixing my Obama and Elop-ian metaphors a little too easily, but whatever the details of Elop’s history, Telstra is claiming it as a big win, for Mr Elop has certainly been a man of technological distinction, a big tech spender, who now wants to spend a little time (or rather, a lot of time) with Telstra.

The company advises that Elop, now 52, ‘will have responsibility for leading Telstra’s strategy to become a world class technology company. He will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penn and be based jointly in the United States and Australia.’

Penn noted that Elop was a ‘significant appointment reinforcing Telstra’s ambitions to be a world class technology company,’ with Elop having ‘held global executive roles with Nokia, Microsoft, Juniper, Adobe and Macromedia including CEO of Nokia for three years.’

Penn said: “Stephen will immediately add major firepower to our team with his extensive and deep technology experience and an innate sense of customer expectations. He is a recognised international technology leader and strategist from across a range of global organisations.”

As for Elop’s new role, the ‘Technology, Innovation and Strategy portfolio’ is said by Telstra to bring together ‘aligned lines of business including the Chief Technology Office, Chief Scientist, Telstra Software Group and Corporate Strategy with strong links into product development functions.’

Elon said: “I have long recognised the Telstra team as one of the most innovative and insightful in the telecommunications industry. Telstra has a strong focus on its customers, and a willingness to invest in advanced products and services to best serve those customers. I am excited to be joining the team at a particularly unique moment of opportunity for Telstra.”

Hey, if I was going to be paid likely millions of dollars to work for Telstra, I’d be pretty damned excited too, but Elop certainly has rung up some very visible global runs on the board, whatever you do or don’t think of his actual results.

More below, please read on.

As Telstra reminds us, Elop was ‘CEO of Nokia from September 2010 to September 2013, when it was announced that Microsoft was purchasing Nokia’s mobile and devices business, at which time he became Executive VP, Devices and Services pending deal completion.’

Upon closure of the deal with Microsoft, he became Executive VP of the Microsoft Devices Group and served in that role until July 2015, which is around the time Elop missed out on the biggest Microsoft promotion of them all, with that honour going to Satya Nadella instead.

Prior to Nokia, Elop was President of Microsoft’s Business Division, with responsibility for the Microsoft Office franchise and related products. He was previously Chief Operating Office of Juniper Networks, a senior executive at Adobe Systems and CEO at Macromedia.

Elop has a Bachelor of Computer Engineering and Management and an honorary Doctorate of Science from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. He is currently Distinguished Engineering Executive in Residence at McMaster University. Elop commences on 4 April - and that’s no joke!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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