Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s board is close to naming Rajeev Suri as its next chief executive, reports a Finnish newspaper. Indian-born Suri currently heads the company’s network equipment division, Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN). The Finnish company expects to close the $7.2 billion sale of its device business to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) by the end of this month. Following the sale, Stephen Elop will join the software giant.

Nokia Rajeev Suri

Rajeev Suri strongest candidate for the post of Nokia CEO

Citing sources close to the board discussions, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper said that Suri is the strongest candidate to succeed Elop. Stephen Elop will move to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) as the head of its Devices and Studios business. The newspaper said that Suri’s appointment will be announced officially in the coming weeks. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) spokeswoman Maija Taimi declined to reveal anything about the CEO selection process. Chief Financial Officer Timo Ihamuotila is temporarily leading the company.

Rajeev Suri joined Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) in 1995. He worked in a number of networking-related jobs at the company before being appointed as the CEO of NSN in 2009. He is credited with reviving NSN through a drastic restructuring plan. The network equipment division of the Finnish company had been suffering heavy losses for several years. Suri has now turned it into a profitable business. He reduced NSN’s operating expenses by €1.5 billion, eliminated about 25% of its workforce and ditched unprofitable assets.

NSN makes up 89% of Nokia’s revenue

In 2013, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) reported annual sales of $17.6 billion, excluding its handset business. NSN made up $15.7 billion or 89% of the company’s total revenue. The networking division earned an operating profit of $1.5 billion in 2013. NSN reported a 22% decline in its fourth quarter revenues, but analysts remain optimistic about its future.

Coincidentally, Rajeev Suri and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella graduated from the same college: Manipal Institute of Technology.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) shares were down 0.13% to $7.55 in pre-market trading Friday.