Why it matters: Nokia’s bid to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the emergence of 5G took another turn on Monday as the company’s board of directors announced that CEO Rajeev Suri will be stepping down later this year.

The executive will be replaced by Pekka Lundmark effective September 1, 2020. The significant lead time was likely necessary in order to provide Lundmark with sufficient time to finalize his affairs at Fortum, the energy company where he currently serves as chief executive.

This won’t be Lundmark’s first stint at Nokia. He held various executive-level positions with the company from 1990 through 2000 including vice president of strategy and business development.

“I am confident that the company is well-positioned for the 5G era and it is my goal to ensure that we meet our commitments to our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders,” Lundmark said.

The outgoing Suri said that after 25 years at Nokia, it is time to do something different. “Nokia will always be part of me, and I want to thank everyone that I have worked with over the years for helping make Nokia a better place and me a better leader,” he added.

Just last week, Bloomberg said Nokia had hired advisers to help explore strategic operations including the sale of assets or even mergers. With the leadership change now official, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Nokia will still want to investigate these avenues further.

Nokia is one of three major participants vying for lucrative 5G contracts alongside Huawei and Ericsson. According to the company, it has already secured 68 commercial 5G contracts, putting it behind Ericsson’s 81 contracts and Huawei’s 91 contracts.

Masthead credit: Nokia building by Tada Images.