Farewell Then, Ben
Today is the final working day before the Easter weekend break in Europe, and when the staff at Alcatel-Lucent headquarters in Paris get back from their long weekend they will have a new CEO.
Michel Combes takes over on Tuesday April 2 as, after roughly four-and-a-half years, today is Ben Verwaayen's final day in charge at the struggling vendor.
Verwaayen quit in January and Combes was appointed shortly afterwards in February. (See CEO Verwaayen to Step Down at Alcatel-Lucent and Alcatel-Lucent Appoints New CEO.)
Tuesday isn't just a big day at AlcaLu because of the executive shuffle. The vendor is also unveiling one of its most important developments in years -- its software-defined networking (SDN) pitch. (See Alcatel-Lucent Preps 'TiMetra Mark II'.)
While that's exciting, the company's financial predicament is not (though it has been improving of late). Combes will take over the running of a company that has a share price of just €1.05 -- it was €3.59 when Verwaayen took over in September 2008 -- and a current market capitalization of little more than €2.43 billion (US$3.12 billion): That's lower than a quarter's revenues. (See Alcatel-Lucent's Q4 Inheritance.)
While it looks very much like Combes is picking up after Verwaayen's mess, we have noted previously that the former BT Group plc CEO took charge of a dysfunctional turkey in 2008 and was handicapped from day one. (See Alcatel-Lucent: Don't Blame Ben.)
We wish Verwaayen all the very best for his next endeavors (will he fulfill that dream of becoming a politician?) and we wish Combes the very best of luck in his new job -- he may need it.
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading