Finnish lifts and escalators firm Kone’s chief executive Matti Alahuhta is to step down at the end of March, the company announced, after reporting a rise in profits and higher orders due to strong demand in China. Alahuhta, 61, a well-known figure in Finland who has also served on the executive board of Nokia, said nine years as CEO was a long time and that he wanted to do something new. He will be replaced by chief financial officer Henrik Ehrnrooth. Alahuhta told reporters that he did not intend to take on another role as a CEO and denied he was angling for the top job at Nokia, which is in the process of finding a new leader following the sale of its mobile phones business to Microsoft. Under Alahuhta Kone’s business has expanded globally, benefiting from growth in construction and high-rise developments in markets such as China and the Middle East, and analysts said he was leaving at a time when the company was on a steady growth track. (Reuters)