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Ex Vodafone exec to lead Alcatel-Lucent
22 February 2013
Former CEO of Vodafone Europe Michel Combes to take over from Ben Verwaayen at Alcatel-Lucent on 1 April
In a decision that came faster than expected,
Alcatel-Lucent’s board has appointed Michel Combes
to be CEO of the company from 1 April, replacing Ben Verwaayen.
Combes was CEO of the European division of Vodafone until May
2012, when he was expected to become CEO of French telecoms
company SFR. However, SFR’s parent, Vivendi, fired
its own CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy the following month and Combes
withdrew from the position.
Verwaayen resigned after Alcatel-Lucent reported worse than
expected results in early February. Until that point, he had
been expecting to stay on: he had told Global Telecoms Business
in an interview in early January that he wanted to complete the
task at the company, which recruited him in 2008.
Earlier in his career Combes was chairman and CEO of French
transmission company TDF and then CFO and senior executive vice
president of France Telecom. When Combes left Vodafone CEO
Vittorio Colao said that he had "been central to the turnaround
in our commercial performance in Europe".
Philippe Camus, chairman of the board of Alcatel-Lucent, said
that as CEO Combes "will be responsible for delivering
sustainable profitability" at the company. "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."
Combes said that while Alcatel-Lucent had "an immense array of
talent and capabilities in R&D", it was "facing major
challenges". He added: "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
At the same time the board has appointed former Bell Canada CEO
Jean Monty as vice chairman of the board. He is also a former
president and COO of Nortel. He retired from Bell
Canada’s parent, BCE, in 2002.
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