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Verwaayen on verwaay out: Alcatel-Lucent big-cheese cheeses it

CEO quits, 4,999 other workers to go

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Alcatel-Lucent chief exec Ben Verwaayen will exit the loss-making telecommunications equipment maker in May.

The ailing biz is in cost-cutting mode and plans to shed at least 5,000 jobs to compete more effectively against its rivals and its Chinese competitors in particular.

Former BT big cheese Verwaayen, who headed up the company in autumn 2008, managed to steer operations back to the black in 2011 but he was unable to sustain those profits.

Alcatel-Lucent revealed today that Verwaayen decided to step down and will not to seek reelection as a director at its forthcoming annual general meeting. Company chairman Philippe Camus said the firm had "accepted" its CEO's resignation.

"Over the last few years, Ben has set a new direction, created one company out of two, and has recently seen through the completion of the stabilisation of the company's balance sheet," Camus said.

Verwaayen said it was an "appropriate time" for the board to find some fresh meat, and his fellow directors are now seeking a successor.

When he joined the firm he said it would take three years to improve the fortunes of Alcatel-Lucent, an organisation created by the messy merger of France-based Alcatel and US biz Lucent.

The company today reported sales of €14.4bn for calendar 2012 compared to €15.3bn a year earlier and a net loss of €1.45bn compared to a profit of €1.14bn in 2011. ®

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