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Frank Nuovo, the head of design at Nokia, is to leave the world’s leading mobile phone maker after 16 years.
The Finnish company said the man who was responsible for creating the iconic mobile handset that helped catapault Nokia to international prominence is leaving to concentrate on his own design projects.
Following the departure of Mr Nuovo the Finnish group will reorganise and centralise design in a global team to oversee all of its handset production and ensure it is more alert to changes in market trends.
Nokia, which has sold more than a billion mobile phones, has lost market share in the handset market in recent years as Asian rivals like LG and Samsung have developed more innovative designs including the “clamshell” model. The ultra-thin Razr handset launched by US rival Motorola in 2004 has also presented problems for the company.
Alastair Curtis, who has worked at the company for 13 years, will take charge of a reorganised design unit. He will take up the new position from next month having previously headed the mobile phone business division.
Mr Nuovo, 45, will continue to work as a consultant for Nokia and stay as principal designer at Vertu, Nokia’s luxury phone brand.
Nicknamed the “Calvin Klein of cellular communication” Mr Nuovo was highly influencial in developing Nokia’s original design style and models which helped the Finnish firm become the world’s biggest mobile phone maker.
Analysts were unsurprised by the departure. “This should not have a great importance for Nokia as it has its own way of designing mobile phones in teams. Besides, there is continuity here as the new head is from the company’s mobile phone division and Mr Nuovo will be still consulting for the company,” said Hannu Rauhala, Nokia analyst at Opstock, Helsinki-based broker.
Mr Nuovo is the latest high-ranking Nokia director to leave. Earlier executive directors such as Pertti Korhonen, Matti Alahuhta, Sari Baldauf and Pekka Ala-Pietilä have left the company.
Shares in Nokia edged 1 per cent higher to €15.89 in Helsinki on Thursday morning.