Can Elop give Nokia back its mojo?
Putting a foreigner in charge of a company which is a huge source of pride to Finland is a radical step - a bit like making an Italian the manager of the England football team. And who knows whether it will prove any more successful.
Mr Elop's mission, to put it crudely, is to give Nokia back its mojo. The company is still the giant of the mobile handset world - but it knows that it has lost what you might call thought leadership. Whereas the industry once looked to Finland to see where phones were heading next, it's now more likely to look to Silicon Valley or Seoul.
So why on earth has Nokia chosen a man from Microsoft, which has continually failed to translate its desktop dominance to the mobile world? Well Stephen Elop has only been at Redmond for about eighteen months, and has an impressive track record in the web software world, having run Macromedia, the inventor of Flash. He was introduced by Nokia's chairman, who praised his "strong software background and his track record in change management."
But Mr Elop now has the unenviable task of trying to change a company whose culture successfully turned it from a wellington boots conglomerate into a global communications giant - and then went suddenly wrong.
That culture has reflected Nokia's Finnish homeland - quiet, understated, clever people getting on with the job without making much of a fuss. On a couple of occasions I have visited the company's headquarters, an airy wood and glass structure overlooking a lake, and come away impressed by the sense of purpose and the lack of a hierarchy. We happened across the then chief executive Jorm Ollila eating in the canteen, and he agreed to an interview then and there.
But the company seems to have failed in two areas - integrating its excellent hardware with the right software, and explaining to customers what it is about Nokia's products that should excite them. One of the first things the new boss will have to consider is whether he should end Nokia's reliance on the Symbian operating system and get into bed with Android, which is now powering many of the hottest new smartphones.
Stephen Elop made a good start at today's press conference in showing that he is a better communicator than many of his Finnish predecessors. The Canadian was also careful to try to build bridges with his new workforce and its homeland, going to almost embarrassing lengths to stress the links between Canada and Finland - they're both in the Arctic Circle and both love ice-hockey. Oh, and he's buying a house in Helsinki.
Nokia has huge strengths and its finances are still pretty sound. There is no reason why it should not be able to win back its reputation as the leader in mobile innovation. But Mr Elop will need to move rapidly - Nokia's rivals, from Apple to Microsoft, are not going to stand still while he sorts out his new home.