Video services

Thomson Nabs AlcaLu Exec for CEO Role

French video systems and home networking giant Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) has named Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s head of Europe as its new CEO. (See Thomson Appoints CEO, Reports Q2.)

Frédéric Rose, currently head of Europe, Africa, and Asia/Pacific at AlcaLu and pictured below, is to join Thomson on Sept. 1.

Thomson, which supplies customer premises broadband equipment, digital converters, IPTV service delivery systems, and VOIP gear to major carriers, cable operators, and satellite TV companies globally, has been looking for a new CEO since March.

CFO Julian Waldron has been the temporary CEO since Frank Dangeard, who had been chairman as well as the lead executive, jumped ship. (See Turmoil at Thomson and Thomson Seeks New CEO.)

Now 46-year-old Rose, one of Pat Russo's seven-strong senior management committee team since AlcaLu's October 2007 revamp, is to park his derrière in Thomson's hot seat from Sept. 1 after 15 years at Alcatel/AlcaLu. His biography is still available on the AlcaLu Website at this link.

AlcaLu says Rose will work with Russo to "ensure a smooth transition... He put a very experienced team in place, and his replacement will be named in due course."

Rose isn't the first senior figure to leave AlcaLu this year: Head of services John Meyer quit in January, also to take on a CEO role elsewhere. He was replaced by Andy Williams, an internal appointment. (See Services Head Quits AlcaLu and AlcaLu Names Services Head.)

And the vendor's head of marketing, John Giere, was replaced in June. (See AlcaLu's Giere Gone From CMO Post.)

Familiar faces
Rose will be familiar with a number of his new charges. Former president of Alcatel Europe, Jacques Dunogué, is head of Thomson's Systems division, which targets telecom and cable operator customers: Dunogué joined in April 2006 shortly after Alcatel and Lucent announced their merger plans. (See Alcatel Suffers First Merger Casualty and Thomson Fuses VOIP & IPTV.)

And earlier this year, Tiaan Schutte, former VP of Alcatel-Lucent's Information, Communication & Entertainment (ICE) business unit (hence, the ICE man), who had been working as part of the giant vendor's IPTV team, jumped across Paris to become Thomson's general manager of Software Service Platforms, since when the company has made a number of interesting IPTV announcements. (See French Firms Take On Microsoft, Thomson, Ericsson Bag IPTV Deals, and IPTV Is Entering Phase II: Thomson.)

Tough job ahead
Rose joins Thomson just as the French vendor hits a rocky patch. The company, which does much of its business in the U.S., is suffering from the weakness of the U.S. dollar in the international exchange market, and has been anticipating a decline in second quarter revenues. (See Euro Stock Watch: Thomson Up, Tiscali Down.)

And today it reported those second quarter numbers, with revenues, at €1.2 billion ($1.88 billion), down 12 percent from a year ago. Thomson calculates, though, that at a constant currency rate, its second quarter revenues would have been €1.3 billion ($2 billion), down 4.3 percent from last year.

That's slightly better than the company had anticipated, but investors had hoped for better: Thomson's share price is down nearly 3 percent today at €3.07 -- and that's nearly 78 percent down from a year ago.

The Systems division, which generates about half of Thomson's sales, was down nearly 8 percent year-on-year at €644 million ($1 billion), though the company believes its prospects are improving following the recent announcement of contracts at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) (revealed months ago by Light Reading), and ongoing demand for the home gateway used by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). (See Telenor Picks Thomson IPTV and Thomson Confirms Comcast DTA Order.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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