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Who Will Replace Russo?

3:05 PM -- As the telecom industry gets used to the idea that Pat Russo, who will get a Golden Goodbye worth up to €6 million ($9.3 million), will be an ex-CEO come 2009, so the names of potential successors start to roll in. (See Russo, Tchuruk Out at Alcatel-Lucent.)

Already (since April) associated with the Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) CEO succession race is Ben Verwaayen, who recently vacated the CEO chair at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). He's a former Lucent man who, so we are told, fancied running a combined Alcatel/Lucent some years back. (See Is AlcaLu Seeking a New CEO?)

Light Reading sources close to the vendor say Verwaayen is seen as the favorite to take the CEO position.

Thierry Breton, the former CEO of Orange (NYSE: FTE), was also identified as a potential candidate back in April. (See France Telecom's Got a New Chief.)

Today, a Reuters report identified Philippe Germond, a former Alcatel COO, as another name in the frame. He is currently head of IT services firm Atos Origin S.A. . (See Alcatel's COO Quits.)

That's an interesting suggestion, as AlcaLu's services division is becoming an increasingly important part of the company's portfolio, as witnessed by today's second-quarter results. (See AlcaLu's Q2 Dragged Down by CDMA and Signs of Stability at AlcaLu?)

The Reuters story also cited another former France Telecom executive, Michel Combes, as another potential candidate identified by analysts. (See France Telecom Gives CFO Le Boot.)

The name that is nearly always mentioned by Alcatel folk (present and former) is Mike Quigley, who was originally set to be the COO of AlcaLu, but who left in August 2007 to return to his family home in Australia. (See Quigley, D'Amelio out at AlcaLu and Quigley Steps Down as Lucatel COO.)

It seems unlikely, though, that Quigley will step back into the frame.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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