Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes heading to Altice – reports

Ambitious French telecoms holding firm Altice is rumoured to be poaching current Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, according to various reports.

Upon the announcement of Nokia’s intended acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, Combes’ tenure at the French kit vendor appeared to be drawing to a close. The announcement stated a clear takeover by Nokia, with its existing management structure continuing, alongside the potential addition of three Alcatel-Lucent members to the board. Combes’ was obvious by omission.

To say that Altice has been pretty busy in the past year would be an understatement. Having bought SFR from Vivendi in November for €13.66bn, it then snapped up Portugal Telecom from Oi for another €7.4bn before going stateside by acquiring 70% of US cable company Suddenlink to value the company at $9.1bn.

Bringing in Combes, who has pedigree as the former CEO of Vodafone Europe as well as ALU, could prove to be a shrewd move by Altice. Having expanded through acquisition so far in 2015, Combes could lead the French firm to more organic growth across Europe and, to some extent, the US. Having been brought in to Alcatel-Lucent in 2013, he successfully turned the vendor’s fortunes around before agreeing the deal with Nokia.

While no official comment has been made by either party regarding Combes’ future, Altice did announce imminent new arrivals today, perhaps not-so-coincidentally. Various financial, legal and strategy heads are joining the firm over the next 3 months, while Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice, dropped a pretty hefty hint towards a major arrival in the offing.

“These arrivals constitute an important step in the continued strengthening of Altice’s corporate organisation,” he said. “Given this period of strong organic and acquisition growth, we will expect to make further announcements in the near-future on the arrival of additional executives who will join the team.”


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