Mary T. McDowell

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Mary T. McDowell (born July, 1964) is an American business executive. She served as the executive vice president of Nokia’s Mobile Business Unit from 2010-2012 where she ran Nokia’s largest, most profitable business, and became the highest-ranking American and longest serving member of the executive team. Prior to joining Nokia, McDowell spent 1986 to 2003 at Compaq Computer/Hewlett Packard where she was SVP and general manager leading the Industry-Standard Server (ProLiant) business for 5 years. During that time, ProLiant servers were ranked as the world’s largest server business.

Mary T. McDowell

Early Life and Education[edit]

A Chicago native, in 1982, McDowell enrolled at the University of Illinois College of Engineering and graduated in 1986 with a BS in Computer Science.


After graduation in 1986, McDowell joined Compaq Computer Corporation. She was part of the Compaq team that developed the first x86 server, the Compaq SystemPro, which came to market in 1989. After a series of roles in product marketing, product management and strategy, she was appointed VP, Server Marketing in 1996. She was appointed VP and General Manager of Compaq’s server business in 1998, promoted to SVP in 2000 and led the combined Compaq/HP Industry-Standard server business, following HP’s 2002 acquisition of Compaq, until 2003. She resigned from HP in late 2003.

McDowell joined Nokia in early 2004 as Senior Vice President & General Manager of Enterprise Solutions, which produced the Nokia ESeries mobile devices and related services. She was made an EVP in 2006 and then tapped to become the company’s Chief Development Officer in 2008. In that capacity she focused on optimizing the company’s strategic and research capabilities and directed Nokia’s mobile payment program. She was then called upon to lead Nokia’s Mobile Phone Business Unit in 2010, where she led the company’s high volume, low-end phones and associated consumer services and designed Nokia’s “Next Billion” strategy to connect a new generation of aspirational consumers in growth economies, and launched breakthrough products including the Asha product line.

She was replaced as Executive Vice President of Mobile Phones by Timo Toikkanen in June 2012,[1][2] and the Meltemi project meant to address the “Next Billion” strategy was scrapped.[3]


In 2010, McDowell was named to the board of Autodesk, Inc. She was previously a board member of Navteq Corporation. She also serves on the Board of Visitors for the University of Illinois College of Engineering


  • Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois’ Department of Computer Science (2011)
  • World Master of Innovation (2009) [4]
  • Top 10 Women in Wireless (2008) [5]
  • Top 20 Women in Technology, in Houston, by the Association for Women in Computing (2000)


  1. ^ Nokia to cut 10,000 jobs, divest assets, [1], EE Times, Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  2. ^ Nokia sharpens strategy and provides updates to its targets and outlook, [2], Nokia PR, Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  3. ^ Nokia scraps phone software to conserve cash: sources, [3], Reuters, Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  4. ^ World's Master of Innovation, (2009), [4], "Business Week" Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  5. ^ Top 10 Women in Wireless, (2008), [5], Fierce Wireless. Retrieved 2013-02-07.