Altice reshuffles management as Combes becomes CEO

French media conglomerate Altice has confirmed a management restructure seeing Michel Combes become its new Chief Exec.

Combes’ rise through the ranks has been swift since joining from Alcatel-Lucent less than a year ago. Brought in following the Nokia/ALU merger last year, Combes held the COO post and headed up its entire Numericable biz. Following Altice’s $17.7 billion purchase of American cable player Cablevision, a rejig of the top level management teams will see Combes take the reins of the entire group.

Combes arrived at Altice with a proven track record of reducing costs and streamlining operations, having successfully turned around Alcatel-Lucent’s fortunes over a five year span leading up to the $15.6 billion Nokia purchase last April. Considering the near $18 billion outlay on Cablevision, as well as the additional $9.1 billion it dropped on US cable player Suddenlink, Altice has taken on a chunk of new debt which needs streamlining, Combes’ experience will likely come in very handy.

Meanwhile Combes’ predecessor, Dexter Goei, has moved Stateside to ensure the smooth integration of Cablevision and take the role of Altice USA CEO. In further reshuffling, Altice founder and President Patrick Drahi is moving to head up the Altice Group Advisory Council, with Goei replacing him in the hot seat. Drahi will remain the controlling shareholder of the Group.

“Since joining us last year, Michel has been instrumental in structuring and harmonizing our operations and strengthening our management teams across the board,” said Patrick Drahi, founder of Altice. “I am very pleased to work with him in his new role as the Altice Group embarks on its next phase of development. I look with full confidence into the future: the Altice Group has never been in a stronger position.”

Moving Combes to the top of the tree is likely a move to help Goei benefit from the former ALU CEO’s experience at a point in time where Altice needs to ensure these hefty acquisitions don’t backfire with a mountain of debt.

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