The poor sales of Nokia’s (News - Alert) Lumia Windows Phone have claimed their first major victim. News surfaced today that Colin Giles, the company’s head of sales, would be leaving the firm in June as the company restructures their sales team. Nokia currently has no public plans to replace Giles. Market units chief Niklas Savander will assume head of sales duties for the Finnish phone maker.
Analysts also speculate that Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO, could be on the chopping block if sales don’t turn around by 2013. “There needs to be a meaningful turnaround in the second half of the year or serious questions will be asked about future of Nokia and its management team,” said Ben Woods, head of research at CSS Insight.
While AT&T (News - Alert) reports that the Lumia 900 is selling well in the United States, efforts to push the smartphone in Europe have fallen flat. Analysts say that more people are interested in the Windows Phone than in RIM’s BlackBerry (News - Alert), but iPhones and Androids still dominate the market.
“At the current pace, the mobile, smartphone business is generating such heavy losses and cash is burning so fast that towards the end of the year there must be a turnaround,” says Inderes analyst Mikael Rautanen. “They must either aggressively cut costs or get sales to rise, but at the moment the scenario of sales increase is uncertain.”
Giles had worked for Nokia since 1992 and had played a pivotal role in increasing the company’s market share in Asia. Now, Nokia faces tough competition in the region from rivals offering phones at lower prices. Q1 phone sales in China dropped 62 percent from 2011 levels.
Nokia said that it would announce more cost cuts soon, but they offered no specific details. Overall sales for the company plunged $1.2 billion in Q1 of 2012. The company laid off 11,000 employees in 2011 and may be considering more cutbacks. Insiders hope that Windows 8 and another holiday season will give Nokia the momentum it needs to mount a comeback.
Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have both rated the company’s debt grade on level above junk. Nokia stock has fallen by half since Elop announced the company’s partnership with Microsoft (News - Alert) to manufacture Windows phones.
Edited by Jennifer Russell