Nokia China and Huawei have both swapped out the heads of their handset operations – but that’s where the similarity ends.
Gustavo Eichelmann, Nokia’s China chief since the beginning of 2012, has left the company for “personal reasons”, Nokia announced Monday. He will be replaced by Erik Bertman, the head of Nokia Russia, effective June 1.
Eichelmann’s departure follows the collapse of Nokia’s share of China’s smartphone market last year – from market leader, with a 29.9% share in 2011, down to seventh with just 3.7% share.
Bertman, a Swedish national, is the fourth head of Nokia’s China business since the beginning of 2010.
He has the job ahead of him. Nokia’s global devices sales were down 32% year-on-year in Q1. Handset shipments were off 25% and smartphone shipments fell by a scary 49%.
As he wings his way to Beijing Bertman may cross paths with Wan Biao, Huawei’s terminals group CEO, who has just been sent to Moscow. In a promotion for Wan, he will head up all of Huawei's operations in Russia, one of the Huawei’s target ofshore markets.
Wan will be replaced by Yu Chengdong, who will retain his current title of chairman of the terminals unit.
In contrast with Nokia’s declining fortunes, the Huawei’s devices team is on a roll. Of course, the popularity of Huawei's affordable smartphones is one reason why Nokia is struggling.
Huawei boosted devices revenue 8.4% to $7.9 million last year and shipped 32 million smartphones. It’s aiming for 60 million this year.