Verwaayen calms troubled waters

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Verwaayen calms troubled waters

Alex Scroxton

Newly-appointed Alcatel-Lucent boss Ben Verwaayen has moved swiftly to calm shareholders still bitter over the tenure of his predecessor, Pat Russo, and has hinted to reporters that he could seek to turn the struggling comms giant around without resorting to more mass redundancies.

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the week, Verwaayen said he was "no fan" of big reorganisations, and revealed his first priorities would be to consult with customers and partners.

The appointment has been well received both in the channel and the wider industry, with Verwaayen's track record at BT being a particular talking point.

EuroLAN managing consultant Keith Humphries said that choosing neither a Frenchman nor an American to lead was an excellent move on Alcatel-Lucent's part, but warned that further redundancies would be par for the course.

"More job cuts will be an inevitable part of the process of returning to profitability; the number of redundancies that should have been made [under Pat Russo] were not made," he said.

Pat Botting, managing director of Alcatel-Lucent integrator Freedom Communications, was looking forward to seeing what Verwaayen would make of his new role.

"Getting somebody in with a good reputation is an excellent idea; he's got a reputation for getting things done quickly and that's what we're all looking for," he said.

Another Alcatel-Lucent reseller said he didn't see the appointment having any immediate effects on the firm's channel.

"I hope it will be positive, but I do think Alcatel-Lucent needs to bring its image up to date a bit, it's still seen as a little monolithic," he said.


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