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Nokia senior exec leaving for venture fund

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish phone maker Nokia said a senior executive was leaving the company to work for a new venture investment fund which will help it develop new applications for its phones.

Tero Ojanpera, Nokia's executive vice president, who had worked at the company for 21 years, will resign at the end of September and become a managing partner at investment fund Vision+.

Nokia said it would invest in Vision+ to bolster the venture capital fund's plans to help develop new applications for Nokia phones.

The Finnish company created the smartphone market in 1996 with its first Communicator model but has failed in recent years to mount a serious challenge to the surge from Apple Inc's iPhone. It has also lost ground in the cheaper end of the market to Asian brands like ZTE.

Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop has been pinning turnaround hopes on new smartphones using Microsoft software, due later this year.

(Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)