Ex-Lucent exec becomes chairman of Avaya

Ex-Lucent exec becomes chairman of Avaya

In a convoluted case of executive swapping, Lucent Technologies spin-off Avaya named former Lucent vice-president Patricia Russo to be its chairman - a position last held by Henry Schacht, who gave up the job two months ago to become interim chairman and CEO at Lucent.

Russo was president of Avaya from 1993 to 1997, when the vendor of enterprise networking products was still part of Lucent. More recently, she was executive vice-president and CEO of Lucent's service provider networks group before leaving the company last August as part of a management realignment.

Since then, Russo had been working as an independent consultant to companies in the telecommunications industry. At Avaya, which was spun off from Lucent earlier this year, she'll assist CEO Donald Peterson in running the company. Peterson, who is also Avaya's president, was named to the additional position of vice chairman Monday.

In an interview, Russo said one of her primary challenges in the new job would be continuing to execute a restructuring of Avaya, which is now targeting its networking products at communications services providers that in turn sell to corporate users. Russo added that she'll also "focus on executing in what we see as high growth areas, such as IP telephony."

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