AlcaLu Execs Lose Out as Nokia Unveils New Top Team

A number of senior executives at Alcatel-Lucent may be out of a job, with Nokia preferring to fill most leadership roles from within its current organization.

Iain Morris, International Editor

October 7, 2015

5 Min Read
AlcaLu Execs Lose Out as Nokia Unveils New Top Team

Nokia has revealed details of the planned top management team that will run the company once it has completed its €15.6 billion (US$17.6 billion) takeover of Alcatel-Lucent, with the list of senior appointments skewed heavily towards executives at the Finnish vendor. (See Nokia Makes €15.6B Bid for Alcatel-Lucent.)

Of the 13 executives that have now been named to leadership positions (including the CEO), just three are currently at Alcatel-Lucent and the status of several highly regarded AlcaLu individuals remains unclear.

Indeed, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) appears to have preferred Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) executives only in those cases where it had no clear existing alternative.

The Finnish vendor's chief objective in acquiring Alcatel-Lucent was to beef up its fixed networks and New IP capabilities, and the three Alcatel-Lucent executives that will hold on to senior roles are all experts in these areas. (See AlcaLu Deal Makes Us 'More Complete' Than Ericsson, Says Nokia CTO, Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On? and Nokia + AlcaLu: What the Analysts Say.)

The three 'chosen ones' are:

  • Federico Guillén, the president of Alcatel-Lucent's fixed networks business, will retain that job title once the merger has gone through, with fixed networks comprising one of four business groups that will form Nokia Networks.

    • Bhaskar Gorti, Alcatel-Lucent's current president of IP platforms, will become president of the new applications and analytics division.

    • Basil Alwan, who currently serves as Alcatel-Lucent's president of IP routing and transport, will take charge of the IP and optical networks group. Alwan has been a high flyer at Alcatel-Lucent, presiding over the one part of the French company (apart from the small licensing division) that has continued to report healthy growth in sales on a constant-currency basis. In the second quarter, revenues from Alcatel-Lucent's core networking business grew at a year-on-year rate of 22%, to €1.68 billion ($1.89 billion), and by 10% on a constant-currency basis, while Group revenues were up 5%, to €3.45 billion ($3.88 billion), but down 9% in constant-currency terms. (See AlcaLu Grows Profits Ahead of Nokia Deal.)

      The biggest of Nokia's four new business groups, mobile networks, will be led by Samih Elhage, currently Nokia's executive vice president and chief financial and operating officer. That group will include Nokia's huge Global Services business (comprising professional and managed services), which currently accounts for about half of Nokia's revenues, as well as Alcatel-Lucent's managed services activities, making it by far the largest of the four units in revenue terms.

      (For more details on the focus of each business group, see the full Nokia announcement: Nokia Unveils Combined Nokia/AlcaLu Management Team.)

      This obviously raises questions about the future of Dave Geary, Alcatel-Lucent's existing wireless president, as well as Nokia's own Igor Leprince, who currently manages the Global Services operation.

      All four business group leaders will report directly to Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, who will remain in the driving seat following the takeover.

      Former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes has already joined French cable group Altice as chief operating officer with particular responsibility for international activities. (See Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice.)

      But a number of other senior executives at Alcatel-Lucent may now be on the lookout for opportunities elsewhere, having missed out on a role in the new-look Nokia's top management team.

      For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

      Timo Ihamuotila will remain Nokia's chief financial officer and Marc Rouanne -- currently Nokia's executive vice president of mobile broadband -- will become chief innovation and operating officer (CIOO).

      The naming of Rouanne to the CIOO role and the lack of any announcement about a separate chief technology officer (CTO) could also have ramifications for Marcus Weldon -- who is currently both Alcatel-Lucent's CTO and the president of the French vendor's Bell Labs R&D outfit -- and Hossein Moiin, Nokia's existing CTO.

      Nokia declined to comment when asked by Light Reading if Moiin would remain CTO and whether there would be a role at the new company for Weldon, saying that it was not commenting on any roles other than those announced today.

      But that doesn't rule out roles for those not named today: A spokesperson at Alcatel-Lucent noted that today's announcement concerns only the top level of management reporting directly to the CEO. "The layers will be appointed and announced one by one, so we will see who is where as the operating model is fleshed out," said the spokesperson.

      Other possible casualties of the merger include Philippe Keryer, Alcatel-Lucent's chief strategy and innovation officer, and Tim Krause, its chief marketing officer.

      Nokia has indicated that Kathrin Buvac will assume the role of chief strategy officer, having previously been Nokia's vice president of corporate strategy, and that Barry French will remain as Nokia's chief marketing officer.

      Nokia Technologies, which is focused on licensing and "the incubation of new technologies," will operate as a separate business to Nokia Networks and will have its own product development and operations team. Ramzi Haidamus will continue as President of Nokia Technologies, reporting to Suri.

      The other C-level appointments include: Ashish Chowdhary, who will move from the position of chief business officer to that of chief customer operations officer; Hans-Jürgen Bill as chief human resources officer (he is currently Nokia's executive vice president of human resources); and Maria Varsellona, who is to remain as chief legal officer.

      — Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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