French finance minister paints Alcatel CEO departure as ‘shocking’

Combes should have seen Nokia takeover ‘through to the end’, says Emmanuel Macron

Tags: Alcatel-LucentFinlandFranceMergers and acquisitionsNokia Corporation
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French finance minister paints Alcatel CEO departure as ‘shocking’ Combes departs Alcatel-Lucent as Nokia finalises its takeover of the company.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 2, 2015

France's economy minister has described Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes' departure from the French telecoms vendor as "shocking" and "bad corporate behaviour", Reuters reported.

Emmanuel Macron made the comments in the wake of Combes' announcement this week that he would step down as chief executive even as Finland's Nokia finalises its takeover of Alcatel - a deal brokered by Combes.

Combes has taken the role of chief operating officer at telecoms networks operator Altice and will be chairman of its French subsidiary Numericable-SFR.

French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported Combes would be in control of around $15m in Alcatel stock by 2018. France's finance regulator is set to investigate Combes' remuneration package to see if it breaches guidelines.

"It's not normal that a big company boss is the first to jump ship," Macron said. "Mr Combes led a merger of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia that we supported... [It] is neither comprehensible nor acceptable that Mr Combes has decided today to leave the company when the transaction hasn't even been completed, both morally and in terms of the proper functioning of the company.

"This case is shocking and, in particular, it's truly a case of bad corporate behaviour. When you run a company like this, you see the transaction through to the end."

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