Neil joined the research and development department at Nokia Research Centre (NRC) Finland in 1998. Debuting as a member of a small team of only seven people within two weeks, he found himself promoted to team leader. Two months later, he was head of research overseeing the development of the NRC6 and leading a team of 80 product experts.
Leadership acumen and a combination of both technological and business savvy propelled Neil rapidly up the ladder until he found himself vice head of New Technologies. In this role, he was responsible for a team of 117 setting out to develop, among other innovations:
- vibrating technology
- LTE (later to become 4G)
- new mobile standards for WiFi on frequencies B, G and N and,
- call quality development.
He finally became acting vice president of R&D, interacting with government departments across Europe and the US for frequency licensing and other policy matters. At that time, Nokia Research Center (NRC) had a budget of $15m per year and held a patent portfolio estimated at $41bn. Nokia had 10,000+ employees, and the NRC’s VP office employed 520 people.
During his time at Nokia, Neil was required to work across regions, unions, developing nations, cross platform technologies, and in secondment between divisions and even companies. He managed huge budgets, recruitment, marketing response, product / service design, and market research. He also experienced the need to reduce human resources.
Several of the core technologies that Neil helped develop are still in use in mobile phones today, including vibration, WiFi frequency response and call quality.
- 1998 joined NRC
- 15 million spending budget
- 520 employees
- 41 billion patent portfolio