Ben Verwaayen, the chief executive of French telecommunications equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent, is set to step down from the company after five years at the helm.
The company confirmed reports from French newspaper Le Monde and The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, as it announced an ongoing fall in revenues, leading to a net loss of €1.37 billion across 2012.
The reports had suggested Mr Verwaayen’s departure was agreed to by the company board on Wednesday.
The company said Mr Verwaayen would step down “once a successful transition has been executed” by a search committee.
“After due reflection, the Board has accepted Ben’s decision to step down as CEO,” said chairman Philippe Camus in a statement.
“The Board wishes to record its thanks to Ben, and will take full advantage of him remaining in the role as CEO whilst the Board runs a full and independent process to find a successor, looking at both internal and external candidates.”
The Wall Street Journal attributed Mr Verwaayen’s departure to frustration over the company’s slow turnaround and ongoing losses, as it struggles to compete with rivals in the telecommunications and enterprise networking markets like Ericsson, Cisco, Huawei and Nokia Siemens.
“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,” Mr Verwaayen said in a statement.
The departure announcement comes just seven months after Mr Verwaayen announced a billion-dollar restructure aimed at turning around the company’s continued losses and achieve significant savings by the end of the year.
Mr Verwaayen was appointed as chief executive of the company in 2008 after stints at BT and several telecommunications and television companies in the Netherlands. He was also board member of US hardware manufacturer Lucent, which merged with French vendor Alcatel in 2006.
In Australia, the company has managed to secure several contracts supplying hardware for the $37.4 billion national broadband network as well as Telstra’s program to upgrade street cabinets. It has also pursued contracts with major mining companies.
However, it is yet to secure a major contract with any of Australia’s three major mobile carriers in the rush to introduce 4G mobile technology locally, losing out to date to Huawei, Nokia Siemens and Ericsson.
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