Nokia hands GC role to acting legal chief

Nokia hands GC role to acting legal chiefNokia has found a new global general counsel after a 10-month search, deciding to promote internally for the role.

Acting chief legal officer Louise Pentland will become Nokia’s permanent general counsel. Pentland was vice president of the legal team for North America before her promotion to the top job. She will oversee a team of more than 150 lawyers, operating in around 130 countries.

Pentland has had a distinguished career of more than 10 years in Nokia’s legal team, during which time she held the position of chief legal counsel for the company’s Enterprise Solutions unit.

She will replace Swedish-born general counsel Carl Belding, who joined Nokia in 2006 from IBM, where he was head of legal for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Belding stepped in for Ursula Ranin, who was general counsel from 1994 to 2005. He died last September after falling from a hotel balcony in Switzerland.

Pentland’s appointment comes as Nokia faces a gruelling series of patent disputes in the High Court. To add to the company’s IP woes, Bird & Bird hired Nokia’s head of European patent litigation in February this year. Ari Laakkonen joined the firm as a senior consultant after spending four years at Nokia managing litigation across European jurisdictions.

Nokia is facing four separate patent licence disputes against Interdigital Technology Corporation, with the hearings due for April, June and October 2009 as well as one in October this year. Bird & Bird is acting for Nokia, facing Wragge & Co on the other side.