Lucent realigns top management, cuts 240 jobs

Lucent Technologies said it is restructuring management in a push to integrate its sales and service organisation. As part of that restructuring, the company plans to cut 240 jobs.

The announcement Tuesday came amid rumors of layoffs and as the telecommunications equipment maker began a search for someone to replace chairman and CEO Richard McGinn, who was ousted on October 23. McGinn was let go after the company posted lower-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.

In the new structure, the company said, said Ben Verwaayen, vice chairman of the corporation, will be responsible for marketing, sales and service worldwide.

Bob Holder, who previously was executive of corporate operations, will head up manufacturing, supply chain and the company's product groups.

In addition, executive vice president and chief financial officer Deborah Hopkins, will lead development of a new information systems infrastructure.

"Linking our finance organisation and our CIO organisation will better enable us to uniformly redesign our key processes and systems to increase our efficiency and simplify the way we do business," said CEO and Chairman Henry Schacht.

Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said late this afternoon that "as a result of consolidation of the Lucent infrastructure to better focus on the service provider market, we would expect approximately 240 employees to be affected." Ambrus also noted that rumours earlier in the day of thousands of employees being layed off weren't true.

Schacht, was Lucent's CEO from 1995 to 1997 and then continued as its chairman into early 1998. In March, he was named chairman of Avaya, a spin-off of Lucent's enterprise networking equipment business. He was again appointed to take over as chairman and CEO until the company finds a permanent replacement for McGinn.