Posted by: Tom Nolle
Alcatel-Lucent is asking shareholders to amend the rules for dismissing the CEO or chairman, which would make it easier for the company to shed current CEO Pat Russo. Russo’s position has been deteriorating with the company’s stock price and financial performance, and many inside ALU and outside believe that a major shakeup in management, needed to improve the company’s position, would have to start with Russo. We’ve noted for some time that Russo was less than the ideal candidate for the times, but one challenge that ALU would face should she be removed is whether anyone, at this time, could do much better. While Alcatel-Lucent has enormous strategic strengths and a strong customer position, it has also created a somewhat dysfunctional organization with the merger, and much of the strategic thinking that characterized the company in the past has been diluted by a combination of organizational change and tactical focus. We believe there are steps ALU could take to recover its position, and even to do so within a year, but they would be bold steps of the type that neither a sales-driven CEO like Russo nor a new figure in the role would be likely to take.