By: Gigaom
Alcatel-Lucent finds its new CEO: Ex-Vodafone Europe chief Michel Combes
Michel Combes is set to take over the reins of Alcatel-Lucent on April 1, after spending the previous four years heading up Vodafone's most important region.

Just three weeks after Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen announced his resignation, the Franco-American telecom vendor has found his replacement. Former Vodafone Europe CEO Michel Combes will take the helm of Alcatel-Lucent on April 1.

Combes headed up Vodafone’s all-important Europe region from 2008 to 2012, when he found himself in an employment bind. He left Vodafone to take over as CEO of Vivendi’s SFR in France, only to see the man who hired him Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy ousted before Combes could take on his new role. Now Combes has landed at one of world’s biggest infrastructure vendors.

Verwaayen, as promised, is staying on until April to help Combes ease into his new job.

“Alcatel-Lucent is an unrivalled technology leader in the telecommunications industry with an immense array of talent and capabilities in R&D facing major challenges,” Combes said in a statement. “This is a company I know well and I look forward to succeeding Ben, working with the key international customers, and driving the business into sustained profitability for its customers, employees and shareholders.”

Combes is taking over a troubled Alcatel-Lucent. The company has struggled since the merger six years ago of France’s Alcatel and the U.S.’s Lucent Technologies, which was supposed to create the world’s dominant telecom vendor. Instead, Alcatel-Lucent has lost ground to many of its traditional rivals such as Sweden’s Ericsson as well as newer market entrants such as Huawei.


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