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Arja Suominen

Born October 24, 1958, Forssa

BA 1982 (Finnish Language), BA 1986 (Finnish Literature), University of Helsinki
MA 1990 in the Faculty of Arts 350th anniversary degree ceremony
eMBA 2003, Turku School of Economics

SVP of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at Finnair, 2001-
SVP of Nokia Communications, 2004–2011
Various positions in communications at Nokia, 1982–2011
Research assistant, teacher and proofreader at the Institute for the Languages of Finland, Töölö secondary school and parliament

Member of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce’s Communications Committee, 2015-
Member of the Savolinna Opera Festival’s Board of Directors, 2015
Member of the Board of Directors of Esperi Care, 2014-
Member of the Confederation of Finnish Industries’ General Assembly, 2012-
Member of the Women’s Bank Steering Committee, 2012-

Photo: Pepe Makkonen, TeMaFoto Oy
Written by Arja Suominen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Joe McVeigh


I remember telling my study mates that I’d got a job at Nokia. Their first question was: “When are you moving?” Nokia was a conglomerate back then, with half of its revenue coming from Finland and the other half from abroad. The company was known mostly for toilet paper, boots and tyres. They were produced in the town of Nokia.

Kari Kairamo, who was the company’s CEO at the time, saw the value of communications and understood that Nokia, then small and little-known, could improve its status in the international market with the help of communications, hence the investment in this area. So I got the chance to learn about communications at a company with the will and possibilities to pursue it in an ambitious and goal-directed way.

The advertisement for the NMT phone Mobira Talkman won the award for best advertisement in Finland in 1986. Photo: Nokia image bank / Material archive, Nokia History Photos.

We used word-processors in the communications department at that time; fax was only just becoming more common and stock market bulletins had to be sent via telex. You could see the results of your work in the newspaper the next day or on FBC’s evening news. With the introduction of Nokia’s MikroMikkos, PCs became more common and the company’s internal e-mail, “smail,” turned our world upside down. The first mobile phone – hugely expensive – was launched in the autumn of 1986. You still couldn’t send text messages on it though.

When I think back to the beginning of my career, I feel like a dinosaur – that’s how radical the changes in communication technology have been.

MikroMikko 3 TT m215. Photo: Nokia image bank / Material archive, Nokia History Photos.


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