Culture Shock

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-07-29 Print this article Print

The world's No. 1 provider of fixed-line telecoms networks has lost more than half of its market value since it started operating as a combined group in December 2006. Chief Executive Patricia Russo, who took the reins after the merger, leaves this year with a payoff of 6 million euros.


Russo jetted into her job in Paris filled with American corporate convictions that flew in the face of French culture.

She promised shareholders she would learn to speak French but did not have time to master the language.

Tchuruk, born in November 1937, is a former arms engineer with Armenian parents in Marseilles who climbed the corporate ladder to become head of oil group Total before joining Alcatel in 1996.

A tireless strategist, he engineered a restructuring of the sprawling Alcatel empire into the core telecoms activities, a defense branch that became part of Thales and the Alstom industrial engineering group.

His departure is likely to reopen speculation over the future of Alcatel's large stake in Thales, which Tchuruk had, according to sources close to the matter, wanted to keep. Thales shares fell 3.2 percent.

The merger with Lucent was meant to crown his career as it pulled the equipment firm back to the front line of global competition with Nortel, Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson.

"It is now time that the company acquires a personality of its own, independent from its two predecessors," Tchuruk said in statement.

Alcatel-Lucent said both Tchuruk and Russo had decided themselves to quit. It said the board would look for a new non-executive Chairman and CEO immediately.

(Additional reporting by Tarmo Virki in Helsinki, Jessica Mead, Julien Toyer, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Louise Ireland)


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