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CEO Daily Brief – Feb. 10, 2011

Nokia May See Shake-Up among Top Execs It appears that a major shake-up is in store for Nokia. The company …

Nokia May See Shake-Up among Top Execs

It appears that a major shake-up is in store for Nokia. The company has been lagging behind many competitors in the smartphone market.

CEO Stephen Elop came on board last year and The Wall Street Journal said he may give details about the company’s future at an analysts' meeting on Friday.

At the least, Nokia may be searching for a new head of operating systems and a new head of research and development, The Journal reports. A German weekly also reported that Mary T. McDowell, who is in charge of Nokia's mobile-phones unit, and Niklas Savander, manager of the markets unit, “may be asked to leave the company,” The Journal says.

A major issue for the company has been that it continues to rely on Symbian software, which appears to be out-of-date when compared to Android and Apple's operating systems. It also has not been able to compete with rivals in North America, a lucrative market for smartphones.

In recent months, several top executives resigned from their posts at Nokia. The Journal said these include: Anssi Vanjoki, who headed up the smartphone unit, and Ari Jaaksi, who headed up MeeGo computer operations. Jorma Ollila, who is chairman of Nokia's board of directors, will resign in 2012.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review points out that a small, “tight-knit” team of a few engineers and executives from the mobile unit may have been responsible for the company’s success starting in the 1990s. Most of them have since left. Justin Fox suggests that a similar approach be used as the company gets revamped. In a big company, it is hard to have that kind of management style permeate the entire organization, but a variation of the management approach, that was successful in the past, may be in order, Fox says.

For more about Nokia, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, please click here.


Deutsche Boerse AG May Buy NYSE

CEOs are just a little curious about who owns the New York Stock Exchange or other major U.S. exchanges. That’s why there is intense interest in the report that Deutsche Boerse AG is “in talks” to buy NYSE, which is valued at almost $10 billion. In addition, LSE has a $3.1 billion bid for TMX Group. There were gains prompted by the announcements.

Bloomberg News reports that the mergers “will create markets that control trading in companies worth more than $20 trillion, or about 36 percent of the world’s stock-market value.” Beyond that Bloomberg points to how “lucrative” it will be to own “growing venues for trading options, futures and derivatives whose profit margins are 57 percent more than equities at NYSE Euronext.”

Bloomberg explains that the merger of NYSE Euronext, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Liffe and NYSE Arca Options, and Deutsche Boerse, which runs Europe’s largest securities exchange, leads to a company “that controls 11 derivatives markets,” Bloomberg said.

By way of comparison, the Chicago Merc merged with the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007, which led to CME Group, and then offered “trading in short-term and long-term interest-rate futures,” according to Bloomberg. A merger of Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext would likely “do the same thing for European interest-rate futures,” Rich Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners, told Bloomberg.

Other mergers may be on the horizon. For instance, Nasdaq may need to make acquisitions to compete with the Deutsche Boerse and NYSE proposed entity, Sang Lee, managing partner at Aite Group, told Bloomberg.

“Exchanges are struggling to a certain degree to try to figure out how to grow,” Lee told Bloomberg. “If they want to continue to try to evolve, consolidation is the way to go.”

For more about mergers of exchanges, as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.


Some 96 CEOs Left Jobs in January

The government and nonprofit sector had the most turnovers in CEOs during January, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Overall, some 96 CEOs left their posts at U.S. companies in January; Challenger said that number is a 9% decrease from December. Still, it is 8% more than CEO departures in January 2010. Government and nonprofit organizations had 12 turnovers.

Among the tech companies, CEOs at Google, Advanced Micro Devices and eHarmony were among those leaving their jobs in January. Challenger gave AMD as an example of where a CEO led the company through the worst of the recession but the board wants a change, now that there is greater opportunity for expansion.

"We could see more changes like this as the economy continues to pull out of recession," Challenger CEO John Challenger said in a statement. “Many companies feel that certain CEOs are better suited for holding the ship steady through rough waters, while others are better for expansion," he added.

For more about CEO turnover, as reported by Daily Finance, please click here.

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