- Nokia, the communications and information technology company, announced that it has promoted Esa Niinimäki to chief legal officer and a member of the company’s Group Leadership Team.
- Niinimäki has worked at Nokia for more than 15 years, during which he has held multiple positions, including recently serving as interim chief legal officer.
- “Esa has a strong vision for Nokia’s legal function and will ensure it continues to be a strategic partner to the business,” Pekka Lundmark, Nokia’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
When large companies appoint internal candidates for legal chief posts, those selected typically have deep experience within the in-house legal department and have held leadership roles. Niinimäki fits that description.
Prior to serving as interim CLO in recent months, Niinimäki was vice president, deputy chief legal officer and board secretary. The company said in that role he defined strong governance practices for Nokia.
Niinimäki also served as GC of Nokia’s global services business group. His other legal work at the company includes serving as senior legal counsel, legal and IP, for the IMEA region.
“He is a deeply experienced leader who has been an influential contributor to Nokia’s strategy,” said Lundmark, the CEO. “He has earned the trust and respect of the Group Leadership Team and board of directors.”
In his statement, Niinimäki highlighted that compliance is a key company value that unites the efforts of the business and legal teams.
“I am honored to lead this best-in-class legal and compliance function and be a member of the Group Leadership Team as the company continues its strategic transformation,” said Niinimäki, who will be based in Finland.
Niinimäki has been at Nokia during a period of ups and downs for a company that once was the leader in the mobile phone market.
After losing market share, Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft almost a decade ago and it announced in 2020 that Lundmark was taking over as CEO.
The company has focused in more recent years on making inroads in the 5G market, including with its recent announcement of a new 5G patent agreement with Samsung.
Meanwhile, before joining Nokia, Niinimäki worked as group legal counsel for Metsä Group and as an associate lawyer at White & Case LLP.
He replaces Nassib Abou-Khalil, whom the company announced in October had decided to leave the company.