D Shivakumar, executive director and vice president of the Rs 2,500-crore Philips India, is taking over as country head of handset giant Nokia. He takes over from Sanjeev Sharma, who will relocate to Singapore to assume charge as V-P-marketing, for the Asia-Pacific region. When contacted by ET, Mr Shivakumar said he was yet to take a final decision. He has been credited with putting Philips' CE division back on the growth path.
The company's market share in the colour television segment rose from around 5.5%, when he took over in '03, to around 8-9% in '05, with a 40%-plus share in the audio market, especially DVDs. He moved to Philips from HLL, where he headed, its haircare divison.
He has completed almost three years at Philips India. Unlike Nokia, Philips has a small presence in the Indian handset market. At Nokia, Mr Shivakumar will be in charge of pushing growth in the handset business and supporting other lines of business like networks.
Mr Sharma joined Nokia India in May 1995 as head of marketing and became managing director in '00. Prior to joining Nokia, he spent 11 years in Reckitt Benckiser, 3M and Pepsi. Under his leadership, Nokia India became a billion-dollar company and introduced its India-specific handset, 1,100, which features a built-in flashlight and is the largest-selling mobile phone in the country. Nokia has over 65% share of the Indian mobile market, pegged at around Rs 12,000 crore.
The company has an R&D centre in Bangalore and a manufacturing plant in Chennai that will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 11. Nokia will manufacture handsets and base stations at this plant, being set up with an investment of $150m spread over a three-year period. It will employ 2,000 people by the end of this year. Nokia is testing and verifying the production line at Chennai, according to industry sources.