Siemens AG is on the look out for a new chief executive for its mobile phone network equipment joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Siemens supervisory board member Sibylle Wankel told reporters on Friday.

Wankel, who represents the IG Metall trade union on the supervisory board of the German engineering conglomerate, said Siemens Finance Director Joe Kaeser had been looking around for an alternative to current NSN CEO Rajeev Suri.

I know from several discussions that Mr. Kaeser has been desperately looking for an alternative, she said.

A spokesman for Nokia said: This is complete rubbish.

Siemens declined comment. A spokesman for Suri had no immediate comment.

NSN Chairman Jesper Ovesen said the board had full confidence in Suri.

Kaeser is responsible for managing Siemens's interest in NSN, which has been struggling to make a profit since being set up in 2007.

NSN, a 50-50 joint venture with Nokia Oyj, said earlier this week it would cut about 2,900 of a total 9,100 jobs in Germany, mostly by the end of this year. Its headquarters in Germany is also to be closed down.

The cuts are part of the 17,000 worldwide reductions Suri announced in November, a quarter of the group's workforce, as NSN faces aggressive pricing from rivals and an economic downturn that has forced telecoms companies to cut spending.

IG Metall head Juergen Wechsler told reporters at the same news conference that the unions would oppose strongly the job cut plans and could even call for strikes.

(Reporting by Jens Hack; Additional reporting by Tarmo Virki; Writing by Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by David Holmes)

This story updated corrects the eighth paragraph to show job cuts were announced earlier this week, not last week