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TheStreet Open House

Nokia Siemens Latest Telco to Swap CEOs

Nokia Siemens Networks is swapping out its CEO, becoming the latest telecom giant to undergo a major leadership change.

The wireless specialist announced Tuesday that Simon Beresford-Wylie is stepping down as CEO, a little over two years since leading the creation of the Nokia Siemens joint venture. The company's services chief, Rajeev Suri, will take the Nokia Siemens reins from Beresford-Wylie on Oct. 1, it said.

In the last 12 months, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Ericsson (ERIC) have also appointed new CEOs, highlighting the rapid pace of change in the telecom sector.

Beresford-Wylie had told the Nokia Siemens board of his desire to depart "at the appropriate time" and is now heading off to pastures new, according to a company statement released early Tuesday.

"I respect his decision to pursue opportunities in a new industry after 27 years in the telecommunications infrastructure sector," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. "He leaves a remarkable legacy as the architect of Nokia Siemens Networks."

Nokia Siemens did not reveal the identity of Beresford-Wylie's new employer but confirmed that he will support the 41-year-old Suri during a transition period through Nov. 1.

Beresford Wylie, who has been at Nokia since 1998, is credited with nursing the company through its infancy, as well as guiding it through the recession. The CEO, however, was also involved in the failed attempt to buy part of Nortel's (NT) wireless business, which was seen as a shot in the arm for Nokia Siemens' North American operation. The Finnish firm ultimately lost out to Ericsson in the tussle for Nortel's Code Division Multiple Access and Long Term Evolution (LTE) assets.

Despite a cloudy economic climate, Nokia Siemens has kept itself busy forging alliances and launching new products. In July, for example, the wireless company created a joint venture with networking specialist Juniper (JNPR) to target the carrier Ethernet market. This came hot on the heels of a partnership with storage giant EMC (EMC) to create joint products for telecom service providers.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal the new Nokia Siemens CEO said that he sees good opportunities in the services sector, particularly after its recent deals with France Telecom and Orange.

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