Nokia Technologies president resigns following close of digital health sale
Digital health wearables unit returned to Withings co-founder as Nokia focuses on B2B
In 2016 Nokia Technologies spent $190 million to acquire consumer-facing health wearables firm Withings. After standing up a digital health business unit, Nokia has now sold the company back to Withings co-founder Eric Carreel. The Finnish network equipment giant announced plans to sell the business unit on May 2, following a strategic review, and said on May 31 the sale has been finalized. According to the company, the sale is part of a larger strategy of “honed focus on becoming a business-to-business and licensing company.”
The Withings acquisition came with consumer-facing digital health projects including scales, smart watch activity trackers and blood pressure monitors, as well as proprietary apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices and open application programming interfaces to encourage developers to create compatible apps. That portfolio was largely unchanged when Nokia launched the products under its own brand in mid-2017, calling its line-up the “most comprehensive line of connected consumer health products in the market.”
In tandem with the sale of the digital health business, Nokia Technologies President Gregory Lee is leaving the company; Chief Legal Officer Maria Varsellona will replace Lee on the company’s Group Leadership Team. CEO Rajeev Suri said Lee was brought to the company to “make a clear-eyed assessment of our consumer business and incubation activities, and took the bold decision to refocus Nokia Technologies on licensing. As part of that effort, he assessed strategic options for Digital Health, which led to the sale of that business. Given that, we have agreed that his work…is done.”
Lee joined the company in June, 2017, after 13 years with Samsung Electronics where he most recently held the role of president and CEO. He oversaw all Samsung business in North America, including consumer products. “I am proud of the fact that I leave Nokia Technologies as a stronger and more focused organization, strategically aligned to make a meaningful impact on Nokia’s business performance,” Lee said in a statement.