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Nokia taps Coke exec to refresh brands

The hope is that Keith Pardy will put some fizz back in the company's market share stats.

Nokia is bringing in a Coca-Cola executive to take over brand management as part of its plan for regaining market share.

Accustomed to being top dog, the handset maker has seen its market share slide to just under 30 percent in the second quarter.

The Finnish company is now slicing up its broad product set into six marketing categories--premium, fashion, classic, active, expression and entry--and is turning to former Coke exec Keith Pardy to manage the new brands.

Pardy, a Canadian who worked for Coke for 17 years, was vice president of global brands for the company's non-cola products. Unlike his predecessor, he will be based in London rather than Finland.

Nokia has missed out on a number of the most successful developments in mobile phones in recent years, and some of its attempts to regain ground have failed.

The N-Gage game deck, for instance, has been a disappointment, and the 7700 stylus input device is now accepted by the company as a mere prototype for something better next year. Nokia hopes to regain ground from a late start in clamshell-style handsets with an entry-level design, a 3G model and other smart phones.

However, any turnaround may take time. Most of the products announced earlier this year are not expected to affect sales until late 2004 or early 2005.

Ron Coates of Silicon.com reported from London.

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