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Should Microsoft Hand CEO Reins to Nokia
Should Microsoft Hand CEO Reins to Nokia's Stephen Elop?

By Jennifer LeClaire
September 4, 2013 11:22AM

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There are the Microsoft investors who were unhappy with Steve Ballmer's performance and are feeling uneasy. Replacing Ballmer with Stephen Elop would be like rearranging the deck furniture of the Titanic. Nokia stock declined under Elop's stewardship and that's a major red flag to investors.

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Joseph M. Pastore Jr., Professor Emeritus in Residence at Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York, told us what is happening at Microsoft is what happens to all innovative firms: The fate of the successful entrepreneur is ultimately her or his own demise. Elop probably can't stem the tide.

"Ballmer was left to close the door on the firm's entrepreneurial past," he said. "As for who will open a new door, it's little surprise that there is no 'crowned prince.' Structure follows strategy. Absent the latter, there can be no former. But, we'll know it when we see it."

Bad PR Move?

From a public relations perspective Stephen Elop is the wrong choice to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft, said David Johnson, CEO of public relations firm Strategic Vision. He told us Microsoft has to think about its audiences when selecting a new CEO and Ellop will not satisfy those audiences and send the message Microsoft wants to send.

"First, there are the investors who were unhappy with Ballmer's performance and are feeling uneasy. Replacing Ballmer with Elop would be like rearranging the deck furniture of the Titanic," Johnson said. "Nokia stock declined under Elop's stewardship and that's a major red flag to investors."

Second and more importantly, he continued, there is the dramatic decline of Nokia's market share under Elop's command. Investors are looking for reassurance, a track record of success, and a forward looking vision.

"Elop's being tapped as the CEO doesn't fit the bill. They want a name that will standout and make analysts take notice," Johnson said. "Consumers are looking for a wow factor for the next CEO -- someone who promises innovation. CEOs are part of the story for consumers now in branding and Elop doesn't meet that need."

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