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HELSINKI, March 28 Finland's Nokian Tyres
on Tuesday appointed long-standing board member Hille
Korhonen as its new chief executive.
The company, one of Europe's most Russia-exposed firms due
to its large tyre plant near St Petersburgh, lost CEO Ari
Lehtoranta to smaller Finnish firm Caverion last
year, creating uncertainty about its future.
Korhonen has been a board member at Nokian since 2006. She
currently works as CEO of Finland's national alcoholic beverage
retail monopoly Alko.
"We conducted an extensive international recruitment process
... Hille Korhonen brings extensive leadership experience and
excellent brand expertise to this position”, Chairman Petteri
Wallden said in a statement.
Korhonen will start as CEO in June.
Nokian's sales were hit by the Ukraine crisis, a slowdown in
the Russian economy and a weakening of the rouble, but it has
managed to offset lost business by growing in North America and
The company is expecting moderate growth in Russia this
year, saying its key market is showing signs of
"It's a good, neutral choice. The company is in good shape,
and she's likely to continue in Lehtoranta's footsteps," said
Sauli Vilen, an analyst at Inderes Equity Research.
"As a board member she knows the company well, but the
question is, what new she has to offer," added Vilen, who has a
'reduce' recommendation on the shares.
The stock was broadly flat in afternoon trading in Helsinki.
Nokian appointed the head of its Russian operations, Andrei
Pantioukhov, as interim CEO in December, but said he was not
considered for the role permanently. He will continue to lead
the Russian business from June.
(Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Mark