Ben Verwaayen, the former chief executive of British Telecom (BT), was named this week as the CEO of Alcatel- Lucent, one of the world’s leading suppliers of telecommunications network equipment. Following on the recent announced departures of CEO Patricia Russo and chairman Serge Tchuruk, the Alcatel-Lucent board also confirmed the selection of Phillippe Camus, a co-managing partner of French media concern Lagardere, as nonexecutive chairman. Verwaayen is credited with orchestrating BT’s strategic shift toward networked information technology and broadband services that have contributed to a two-fold increase in BT’s share price between 2004 and 2007. Observers believe that Verwaayen will put that experience to work in turning around the fortunes of Alcatel-Lucent, which has suffered a 60% drop in market value since Lucent Technologies merged with Alcatel in 2006. Upon taking the helm at Alcatel-Lucent, Verwaayen intends to focus on the development of new technologies that could boost the company’s competitive stance against established rivals that include Ericsson of Sweden and new telecom equipment producers based in Asia. Camus, meanwhile, served as founding co-chief executive of European aerospace group EADS, a major Lagardere shareholder, between 2002 and 2005. (Sources also report that Camus will retain his current position at Lagardere.) Pledging his commitment “to building significant and sustainable value for our shareholders, customers, and employees,” Verwaayen said: “I am truly delighted to become the CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, leading a company with vast assets and great talents, while recognizing the difficulties and challenges ahead.”