APAC and A/NZ leaders exit Nokia spin-off, HMD Global

Changes impact vendor at regional and local levels

HMD Global, the Nokia mobile phone business sold to Microsoft and then bought back, has revealed changes to its leadership ranks, impacting both regional and local operations.

ARN can reveal that the vendor's vice president of Asia Pacific, James Rutherfoord, has exited the business, alongside Mark Trundle as general manager of Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).

As a result, Per Ekman, global head of sales and vice president Middle East and North Africa, will assume Rutherfoord's responsibilities, with A/NZ operator business manager James Robinson taking over the role vacated by Trundle.

Trundle - who also held responsibilities for Indonesia - departs after almost two year in the role.

Having previously held the position of general manager of mobile devices across SE Asia at Microsoft, prior to this, Trundle worked for Nokia for several years, holding a sales director role for Pan Asia in 2014.

Trundle joined the tech giant when it acquired Nokia's mobile phone business.

Specifically, in September 2013, Microsoft announced its intentions to acquire Nokia's Devices and Services business, which included the smartphone and mobile phones businesses, and license the Finnish company's patents for a total of US$7 billion in cash.

However three years later, in 2016, Microsoft then sold the business to FIH Mobile and the newly formed HMD Global.

HMD confirmed to ARN that both Trundle and Robinson decided to move on due to personal reasons.

Rutherfoord has a very similar trajectory to Trundle, also coming from Nokia originally, where he was a regional vice president for North Africa, Levant and Near East in 2014 when the business was sold to Microsoft.

In July 2016, he was named Microsoft regional vice president of devices for Asia Pacific until the business was sold again, before joining HMD Global.

The departures come seven months after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed in its Communications report 2016-17, tabled in Federal Parliament on 8 December, that mobile phones are the most popular and frequently used device for internet access in the country.

“While the use of a mobile phone overall appears to have reached saturation levels, smartphone ownership grew in 2016–17, increasing by 17 percentage points from 64 per cent four years ago,” the report stated.

“This growth is reflected by the number of mobile phone shipments to Australia, which grew by 18.4 per cent to reach 2.16 million phones for Q2 2017.

“This number is forecast to rise to over nine million handsets in 2018, boosted by Nokia’s re-entry into the market under HMD and Amazon’s launch into Australia."

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Samira Sarraf
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