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RealTime IT News

Russo Named Lucent Chairman

Networking hardware vendor Lucent Technologies has named President and CEO Patricia Russo as its new chairman to replace Henry Schacht, who is stepping down from the post. The change was announced at the company's annual shareholder meeting.

The 68-year-old Schacht plans to remain an outside member of Lucent's board of directors after he departs, however.

The board's decision to elevate Russo to chairman is seen as a vote of confidence in the 50-year-old, who has been leading the company though a major restructuring of operations after a troubled two years wrought by the collapse in the telecom sector.

Russo was brought in as president and CEO in January of 2002 from a position as president and chief operating officer of Eastman Kodak. At the time, the Murray Hill, N.J.-based company was still reeling from a sharp decline in telecom sales in 2001, regulators' questions about how it accounted for sales, and difficulty keeping up with its debt payments.

Since she joined the company, she has helped cut expenses by more than $4 billion, the company said. Lucent also recently won a major, multi-year purchase from Bell Canada for broadband access hardware and software services.

Prior to re-joining Lucent in 2002, Russo served as executive vice president and CEO of Lucent's Service Provider Networks division from 1999 to 2000. Updates to remove incorrect reference to Solectron transaction in prior version of the story.