Alcatel hires former Vodafone man

michel-combesAlcatel-Lucent has hired Michel Combes, former head of Vodafone’s European business, as  chief executive in an attempt to transform the fortunes of the ailing telecoms equipment maker.

Combes, a French national who has also worked at France Telecom, will join in April, replacing the outgoing Ben Verwaayen, the former BT head.

Combes conceded that Alcatel faced “major challenges” – Its net loss was €1.4 billion last year – but he added it was an “unrivalled technology leader in the telecommunications industry with an immense array of talent and capabilities”.

Verwaayen said when his departure was announced that he believed that he had put the right strategy in place for the company but that “execution is not my strong point”.

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