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Former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Joins Altice

European telecom giant Altice confirmed Monday that it has hired former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes as COO of the group and as chairman of the board of Numericable-SFR.

Early on, Combes will be tasked with restructuring Altice’s operations. He also comes on board as Altice makes a push into the U.S., initially via a proposed $9.1 billion acquisition of St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications.

Prior to helming Alcatel-Lucent, Combes, 53, served as CEO of Vodafone Europe, chairman and CEO of TDF, and CFO and SVP of France Telecom.

“I am very pleased that Michel, whom I have known for over 20 years, has decided to join us to help structure the Group's operations and to harmonize our best practices throughout our subsidiaries and countries,” Patrick Drahi, president of Altice, said in a statement. “He will bring a solid experience both in mobile and fixed operations and is a talented and appreciated manager. The Group will continue to attract key talent to help manage our rapid expansion in both Europe and the Americas whilst maintaining our unique entrepreneurial mindset.”

 “We are extremely pleased with the arrival of Michel Combes, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable executives in the Global Telecom industry,” added Altice CEO Dexter Goei. “His deep experience in the international telecom sector will help significantly reinforce our ability to successfully operate and integrate all of our affiliates and to continue to grow our footprint in new territories.”