Alcatel-Lucent Ousts CEO — Too Little Too Late

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Deeply damaged telecom equipment company Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (NYSE: ALU) has fired CEO Ben Verwaayen. The decision will not matter. The company has lost so much market share that its shares trade near penny stock levels.

The efforts at a turnaround have failed for years. In the spring of 2008, the stock hit $7.50. It currently trades barely above $1. Alcatel-Lucent has lost money in each of the past three years, on revenue that has been flat at about $21 billion. The successes of Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) have made growth at Alcatel-Lucent almost impossible.

The company announced:

Alcatel-Lucent (announced today that CEO, Ben Verwaayen, has decided not to seek re-election as a director at this year’s Annual General Meeting, and will step down as CEO once a successful transition has been executed.

Philippe Camus, Chairman of the Alcatel-Lucent Board, said “After due reflection, the Board has accepted Ben’s decision to step down as CEO.”

“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, enabling us to move forward with confidence.”