Alcatel president to resign

Alcatel President and Chief Operating Officer Philippe Germond on Friday announced his intention to resign.

Alcatel President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Philippe Germond on Friday announced his intention to resign from those posts and from the company's board of directors.

Germond has been president and COO since January 2003, when he came to the global network equipment provider from Vivendi Universal. His resignation will be proposed at the next meeting of Alcatel's board on April 19, according to a company statement.

Alcatel, based in Paris, is one of the leading providers of infrastructure for telecommunications networks, especially DSL (digital subscriber line) equipment, and also supplies telephone and data networks for enterprises.

Alcatel did not provide a reason for the Germond's resignation. A long-time telecommunications analyst, Frank Dzubeck of Communications Network Architects, attributed the move to a proposed company rule change that he said would allow Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Serge Tchuruk to extend his stay in the top post by two years. The proposal, to be considered at the company's Annual General Meeting on May 20, would allow the chairman to remain in office until the age of 70. Published reports indicate Tchuruk is now 67.

Germond was widely expected to succeed Tchuruk, and the proposed rule change to extend Tchuruk's tenure was effectively a vote of no confidence in Germond, Dzubeck said. The resignation should not worry Alcatel customers, he added.

"It had nothing to do with any problems in Alcatel. ... It has to do with succession," Dzubeck said.

Yankee Group enterprise network analyst Zeus Kerravala agreed the move shouldn't cause alarm. Enterprise data networks are a small part of Alcatel's business, but there is no indication the company is looking to pull out of that segment, he said.

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