The official full length portrait for Jorma Ollila, the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Nokia was commissioned and painted in 2012. The portrait hangs in Nokia’s headquarters in Espoo just outside Helsinki, Finland. Mr Ollila has served on the board of Royal Dutch Shell as an advisory chairman since 2006. In addition he is chairman of the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy and the European Round Table of Industrialists since 2005, with a number of international honors including the Order of the White Rose of Finland.
During the commission Gottlieb worked on location at Nokia’s Cable Factory, Kaapelitehdas, in the Ruoholahti district of Helsinki. The painting took place over two months in autumn in a private studio that was set up specifically for the specifications of the commission. It was arranged to conform to Gottlieb’s preference for natural northern daylight to light the chairman during his sitting hours and artificial light so the painter could continue work on the portrait into the darker hours. Gottlieb was invited for an informal visit with the chairman at his before the beginning of the painting so that he could view the private art collection of the chairman and advise him in choosing some personal belongings to include in the portrait. In the background of the portrait you can see the chairman’s library and in his hands he carries the familiar briefcase that his staff and associates are accustomed to seeing in his possession.
It is still customary in many countries in Europe to commission official portraits for exiting Chairmen and CEO’s, one for the boardroom to hang in the corporate collection and one for the honoree’s private collection. The official portrait was unveiled in a private ceremony six months later at the Nokia headquarters in time for the painting’s final varnish. Attending guests included the chairman’s wife, the present CEO, the present chairman and the former presidents, CEO and executives of Nokia. Also in attendance were honored guests of KONE, Daimler, Pearson and MIT, as well as the celebrated Finnish artist Osmo Rauhala and the overseeing Nokia staff for the commission.
Public photos were not approved for the unveiling ceremony, however it was clearly a very special occasion with much significance and fondness for the honored Mr. Ollila, who is credited with turning the company into the then world’s largest handset maker. Many people remarked on the effect and likeness the chairman’s portrait had for them, including how Gottlieb had captured a familiar and authoritative expression that many recognized.
- Size: 41 x 33 inches
- Medium: Oil on linen