Alcatel – Lucent posted a $1.85 billion loss for 2012, compared to a $1.49 billion gain in 2011, so Verwaayen’s departure should come as no surprise. Verwaayen announced his decision to step down in a statement Thursday, saying that now is the appropriate moment for Alcatel – Lucent to seek new leadership.
“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,” said Verwaayen.
Philippe Camus, Chairman of the Alcatel-Lucent Board, said: “After due reflection, the Board has accepted Ben’s decision to step down as CEO.” Camus went on to thank Verwaayen for his efforts to stabilise the company over the past four years.
It remains unclear who will replace Verwaayen and he is likely to stay on until a successor is found. The company said it would consider in-house candidates as well as candidates from outside the company.
Although Verwaayen did not manage to turn things around, he can hardly be blamed for Alcatel – Lucent’s woes. The company was created following a $11.6 merger of Lucent Technologies and Alcatel in 2006. It has been downhill ever since. Verwaayen, the former head of the BT Group, joined the company in 2008, after the previous American-led management was ousted.
Alcatel – Lucent has been trying to restructure and reposition itself in the telecom infrastructure market, but so far it did not have much luck competing against the likes of Ericsson and Huawei.