HMD Global is stacking the deck for Nokia’s smartphone comeback.
The Finnish firm – which recently a 10-year license for the sole use of Nokia’s brand name on smartphones and tablets – has hired former Rovio CEO and Nokia veteran Pekka Rantala as its Chief Marketing Officer.
Rantala most recently served as Chairman of Jot Automaton and previously headed Rovio, the company best known for its success with “Angry Birds.” Before Rovio, Rantala also spent 17 years with Nokia in its smartphone business, serving in roles across sales, marketing and operations before ending up as Senior Vice President for Global Marketing.
The move comes as HMD prepares for the rebirth of Nokia’s brand in the mobile space.
Once a dominant player in the mobile phone business, Nokia sold its device business to Microsoft in 2014. The latter struggled to make the business profitable, however, and ended up slashing more than 10,000 jobs in its mobile division over the past year.
In May, Microsoft made the decision to sell “substantially all” of its feature phone assets to FIH Mobile and HMD Global.
“Pekka has an important mission to rejuvenate the Nokia brand in mobile phones,” HMD Global CEO Arto Nummela said in a Monday statement. “He is an experienced consumer marketer who knows how to run global operations and teams, and is passionate about the Nokia brand. Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, and 96 percent of global mobile phone users are familiar with the Nokia brand, our unique asset. We know people around the world are excited about a new wave of Nokia phones, and we are working hard to create a beautiful range of Nokia-branded devices that people will love.”
According to Nokia, HMD’s new smartphone and tablet lineup will be based on the Android operating system. The devices will be manufactured and distributed by FIH Mobile, as decided in the sale from Microsoft.
HMD plans to invest more than $500 million to support the global marketing of its Nokia-branded devices over the next three years, the company said.
HMD has not yet given a timetable for the release of its first Nokia device, but said it will offer more information about its plans and product roadmap “in due course.”