Nokia CTO taking time off

Nokia CTO Richard Green

A Nokia spokesperson has confirmed that the company’s chief technology officer Richard Green will be taking time away from the company “to attend to a personal matter,” without going into any more detail, including the length of Green’s anticipated absence. Although Green’s departure could be unrelated, the announcement follows reports that Green has had significant disagreements with Nokia’s new executive team over the compay’s new direction—including its high-stakes bet on the Windows Phone platform.

Henry Tirri, the head of Nokia’s research centers, will act as Nokia’s CTO in Green’s absence.

Helsingin Sanomat cites two sources who claim that Green will be on personal leave until the end of the year but is not likely to return to the company.

Green is a former executive with Sun Microsystems, and took over Nokia’s CTA position a little over a year ago during a reorganization that was supposed to simplify Nokia’s business structure and shore up the company’s bottom line. Green was known as a strong advocate of MeeGo, the mobile operating system the company was jointly developing with Intel, based on the latter’s Moblin architecture and Nokia’s Qt development environment. Nokia still plans to bring MeeGo devices to market, but envisions MeeGo—along with its flagship operating system Symbian—will eventually be phased out in favor of a mobile product line built entirely around the Windows Phone platform.

The announcement is the latest in a long series of buffets the Finnish phone giant: although the company remains the largest handset manufacturer in the world, it has been shedding marketshare as consumers increasingly embrace smartphones and companies like China’s ZTE start to erode its share in emerging markets. Since announcing plans to convert to the Windows Phone platform, Nokia has announced it is cutting 7,000 jobs and shedding its Symbian operating system, and the company is now subject to takeover rumors: the latest involve South Korea’s Samsung.