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Chan Leaving AlcaLu

Mary Chan has decided to leave Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) after less than eight months as head of the firm's 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless networks unit.

The Paris-headquartered company has just issued a press release saying that Chan "has decided to leave the company to pursue opportunities outside of the telecom network infrastructure segment." Chan will be replaced by Ken Wirth on Aug. 31, but the pair will work together on the transistion, AlcaLu says. (See AlcaLu Names 4G Prez.)

Chan took up the reins at the 4G unit in late January of this year. She had previously led the wireless efforts at the carrier business group at Alcatel. (See Hail Mary: Chan Takes 4G Helm at AlcaLu, Interview: Alcatel-Lucent's Mary Chan, and AlcaLu Revamps Its Carrier Business.)

Chan is leaving the vendor's LTE unit at a key point in the development of the wireless broadband business. Alcatel-Lucent has already scored a key contract to supply LTE infrastructure to Verizon Wireless . (See MWC 2009: Verizon Picks LTE Vendors.)

There are many important LTE contracts still to be won, however. Pyramid Research expects 12 major carriers to start deploying LTE in 2010 or 2011. Carriers on that list include NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM). (See Pyramid: LTE Growth Will Outpace 3G.) The recent kerfuffle over Nortel Networks Ltd. 's wireless auction has also highlighted how important a role LTE is playing in the near-term future of wireless vendors. (See RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure' and Nortel Could Sell LTE Patents Separately.)

AlcaLu says that Chan's replacement, Ken Wirth, has "over 24 years of industry experience and an extensive knowledge of the company's global customers and markets." Wirth is clearly switched on to the LTE market, having previously worked as president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Verizon business unit.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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