Lucent Technologies Inc. is pinning its hopes for a turnaround on the new head of its Bell Labs division.
Yesterday, Lucent announced that Bill O'Shea would take over as president of Bell Labs and would also serve as the company's chief technology officer. Lucent also said that Jeff Jaffe, who was recently named vice president of Bell Labs Research, will become president of Bell Labs Research and Advanced Technologies, reporting to O'Shea.
"Bell Labs is the heart and soul of Lucent Technologies and is central to Lucent's turnaround," said Lucent Chairman and CEO Henry Schacht in a statement. "The partnership between our product and market units and our R&D labs has never been more critical."
Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent has been hit hard with financial troubles in the past year and is working on a restructuring that involved thousands of layoffs. In August, Lucent announced reorganization plans defined by O'Shea, who was executive vice president of corporate strategy and business development. O'Shea said the company would focus the majority of its business on its top 30 customers who are responsible for approximately 75 percent of Lucent's revenue.
The company was also involved in a failed deal this spring to merge with French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel SA.
O'Shea succeeds Arun Netravali, who will pursue other interests outside of Lucent, although he has also accepted the post of chief scientist and will continue to report to Schacht. In that role, Netravali will work with the academic and investment communities to identify new technologies and will act as an adviser to Lucent senior management on technical and customer issues.
O'Shea, 54, is the 10th executive to head Bell Labs, which was created in 1925. He began his career with a job at Bell Labs in 1972. He was also the head of the company's Business Communications Systems, which was spun off to become Avaya Inc.
O'Shea holds a bachelor's degree from Lowell Technological Institute and a master's degree from Northeastern University in Boston. He also is a graduate of MIT's Sloan School for Senior Executives.
Jaffe, 47, joined Lucent last year to head Bell Labs' Advanced Technologies Group, which works with Lucent's business units in the commercial development and deployment of new technologies such as network planning, systems engineering, manufacturing techniques and environmental technologies.