Alcatel-Lucent gets new CEO

Feb. 25, 2013
Michel Combes replaces Ben Verwaayen, who resigned February 7 after Alcatel-Lucent announced continued losses in its fiscal fourth quarter.

The board of directors at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has approved the appointment of Michel Combes as the company’s new chief executive officer, effective April 1, 2013. Combes will also join the company’s board, subject to the approval of shareholders at the Alcatel-Lucent annual general meeting on May 7, 2013. Combes replaces Ben Verwaayen, who resigned February 7 after Alcatel-Lucent announced continued losses in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Combes, 51, has more than 20 years experience in the telecommunications industry on a worldwide basis. He was chief executive of Vodafone Europe and a board member of Vodafone PLC. During his career, he has held the positions of chairman and chief executive of TDF Group as well as chief financial officer and senior executive vice-president of France Telecom.

Philippe Camus, chairman of the board, said, "It is a great pleasure for us to welcome Michel Combes to Alcatel-Lucent. As chief executive he will be responsible for delivering sustainable profitability. His deep knowledge of the industry as well as his experience of major business and financial transformation at a worldwide level will be pivotal in helping the company pursue its aggressive transformation, while meeting customer needs with disruptive innovation."

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As noted by's sister site, Lightwave, "Combes will have his work cut out for him. Verwaayen, hired in 2008, failed to create a consistently profitable company during his tenure, despite numerous reorganizations." Nonetheless, Camus thanked Verwaayen for his years of service for the company and wished him all the best for his future endeavors, adding that the new and former CEOs would work closely together over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

“Alcatel-Lucent is an unrivalled technology leader in the telecommunications industry with an immense array of talent and capabilities in R&D facing major challenges. This is a company I know well and I look forward to succeeding Ben, working with the key international customers, and driving the business into sustained profitability for its customers, employees and shareholders,” said incoming CEO Combes.

Effective immediately, Alcatel-Lucent’s board of directors also approved the appointment of Jean C. Monty as vice-chairman of the board. Monty, 64, is a Canadian national. He began his career at Bell Canada in 1974 and held numerous positions in the BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) group. He joined Nortel Networks in October 1992 as president and chief operating officer before being nominated president and chief executive officer in March 1993. On April 24, 2002, Monty, then chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Bell Canada Enterprises, retired after a 28-year career.

Board chairman Camus concluded, “We are fortunate to have such an experienced colleague to support Michel Combes in his new role. I’m looking forward to working more closely with Jean and I’m convinced Alcatel-Lucent will benefit from his incredible knowledge of our business.”

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