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Verwaayen to step down as Alcatel-Lucent CEO

Ben Verwaayen is leaving his job as CEO of Alcatel-Lucent having failed to deliver a turnaround at the telecom vendor, which has reported a 2012 loss.

The company has reported a full-year net loss of €1.372 billion (US$1.86 billion) for 2012 as a result of falling sales in Europe and China, as well as an impairment charge. Annual revenues fell by 5.7 per cent to €14.45 billion.

Verwaayen will remain in his job until a successor has been found, the company said in a statement.

The board had started to look for a new chief executive to takeover following Alcatel-Lucent’s annual general meeting in May.

Verwaayen set himself a three-year target for recovery when he took over Alcatel-Lucent in 2008 but the company has struggled recently as a result of operator spending cuts and competition.

There has been speculation for some time that he would stand down.

The board says it will look at both internal and external candidates. Verwaayen said he would not seek re-election at the general meeting.

“Alcatel-Lucent has been an enormous part of my life.  It was therefore a difficult decision to not seek a further term, but it was clear to me that now is an appropriate moment for the board to seek fresh leadership to take the company forward,” he said.

A story in the Wall Street Journal quoted two sources, one saying the company’s directors had become frustrated at Verwaayen’s slowness in delivering a recovery. A second source said his departure was a mutual decision and he had stabilised the company.

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