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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen stepping down

His resignation comes after four tumultuous years at the helm of the struggling network equipment maker.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent announced today that Ben Verwaayen is resigning after serving four years as CEO of the Franco-American network equipment maker.

The imminent resignation of Verwaayen, who will stay on while the company's board searches for a replacement, was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

"Alcatel-Lucent has been an enormous part of my life," Verwaayen said in a company statement. "It was therefore a difficult decision to not seek a further term, but it was clear to me that now is an appropriate moment for the Board to seek fresh leadership to take the company forward."

Verwaayen, the former head of BT Group, was tapped in September 2008 to be chief executive in a bid to turn around the fortunes of Alcatel-Lucent. The company has lost more than half its value since the two rivals merged in December 2006.

The Paris-based telecommunications equipment maker soon embarked on a significant restructuring as it tried to position itself to dominate telecom infrastructure in a post-recession world. But the past six years have been tough on the networking-equipment sector, particularly for the combined company, which has struggled to compete with the likes of Sweden's Ericsson and Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei.

When the company reveals its 2012 financial results later today, analysts expect a decline in quarterly operating income of more than $1 billion -- its seventh consecutive year of negative cash flow, according to the Journal.