Conflict of interest sees Nokia counsel depart

Nokia’s global general counsel Ursula Ranin has quit the Finnish telecoms company to avoid a conflict of interest.

The shock resignation was triggered by the appointment of Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as Nokia’s new chief executive officer (CEO) with effect from 1 June 2006. According to well-placed sources, Ranin, who reports to the CEO, is Kallasvuo’s domestic partner.

Ranin’s resignation coincides with the introduction of further changes to Nokia’s in-house legal function. It is understood that the company is on the lookout for a lawyer to fill the newly-created role of chief legal officer (CLO). Under the new structure, the CLO will be responsible for operational legal, while Ranin’s successor will assume responsibility for company secretarial matters.

Meanwhile, in early 2004, Nokia revamped its legal department, expanding its repertoire from just two divisions to four. Multimedia and enterprise solutions business groups were added to the existing mobile network.

Nokia also opened a new corporate office in New York to serve as the base for the enterprise solutions business group and appointed a new US head of legal.

Nokia did not return calls for comment.