Alcatel-Lucent Hires Huawei’s Roberto Loiola to Head Italy

Jun 10, 2014 5:45 am ET

(Updates with Combes’s forecast in fourth paragraph.)

June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Alcatel-Lucent SA appointed Roberto Loiola to lead its Italian unit, hiring the executive who worked at competitor Huawei Technologies Co. to help boost sales of network equipment to European phone companies.

Loiola, 49, will be chief executive officer and managing director for Italy, the company said in a statement. Loiola resigned from Huawei last month, where he served as vice president for Western Europe since 2010, after a previous executive position at Nokia Siemens Networks.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, halfway through a three- year revamp plan, has cut costs, divested some assets, and brought in new faces to help stem years of losses at the network-equipment maker. Combes last year hired ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Jean Raby as finance chief and Philippe Guillemot, who previously worked at Cie Financiere Michelin SCA and Valeo SA, as head of operations.

European carriers have been slower than their U.S. or Asian peers to spend on a new generation of faster networks. Combes in April forecast demand for network equipment from European carriers would pick up in 18 to 24 months.

Vendors of products from routers to wireless antennas are moving from competing on low prices to emphasizing innovation. Alcatel-Lucent, based in a Paris suburb, is developing research alliances with the likes of Intel Corp. and is investing in labs, including a facility in Israel, to compete against Ericsson AB, Nokia Oyj and Asian vendors such as Huawei.

Alcatel-Lucent shares rose 1.2 percent to 2.96 euros at 11:37 a.m. in Paris, giving the company a market value of 8.3 billion euros ($11.3 billion).

The company earlier this month offered 1 billion euros in bonds that can be exchanged for its stock, to repay debt taken on last year when it struggled to survive.