Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's smartphone champion, resigns one day before Nokia World

Imagine if Jonathan Ive, the designer of the Mac and the iPhone, walked out of Apple one day before its world developer’s conference? Well that’s the kind of impact of the resignation today of Anssi Vanjoki, who has announced his departure one day before Nokia World, the company’s major annual event. Vanjoki was widely seen as being the potential ‘Steve Jobs” of Nokia – a product obsessive who could get things done. There’s no sign he’s left for another job and the short press release contains no words of thanks from colleagues. Wow.

Vanjoki only recently (as in, July) became the company’s Mobile Solutions leader – the one guy that was poised to knock heads together and turn Nokia back into a major smartphone player against the iPhone and Android. But no more.

In a press statement, Nokia said he has given a six months notice period and he will continue in his current tasks for the time being.

Vanjoki said: “I felt the time has come to seek new opportunities in my life. At the same time, I am one hundred per cent committed to doing my best for Nokia until my very last working day. I am also really looking forward to this year’s Nokia World and sharing news about exciting new devices and solutions.”

However, these are hollow words.

Was he reaching for the CEO gig and failed to get it? Leaving just before this huge event could be his way of getting back at Nokia? Just speculating…

Despite the appointment of a new CEO, Nokia is now sailing adrift with no major product lead for its next assault on the smartphone market.