22. Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent - Most Powerful People in Wireless

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Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-LucentWhat makes him powerful: It's been a tumultuous year for Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ: ALU) CEO Ben Verwaayen. The company continues to have financial troubles and earlier this year announced a massive restructuring that calls for cost cutting and layoffs of more than 5,000 employees, or more than 6.4 percent of the firm's 78,000 total workers. The cuts and changes to operations are aimed at saving $1.6 billion by the end of 2013. So far this year, Verwaayen said that the company has saved $582 million.

Despite the dire news, the company's wireless division continues to score some major wins, particularly with North American operators. For example Sprint Nextel selected Alcatel Lucent's lightRadio metro cells as part of its Network Vision deployment. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent has had success with regional operators that are just now embarking on their LTE deployments. C Spire Wireless said in September that Alcatel-Lucent will build its LTE network.

Nevertheless, Alcatel-Lucent's wireless division is having a difficult year thanks to a reduction in operator spending on legacy equipment. In the third quarter the division had revenues of $1.08 billion, a decrease of 18.9 percent from the year-ago quarter.

However, Alcatel-Lucent said its LTE business showed year-over-year stability driven by continued investment in the United States, despite the company getting a great deal of revenue from LTE in the year-ago quarter.

Interestingly, Verwaayen appears to be using his role as the head of Alcatel-Lucent to bring more attention to climate change, an issue he is passionate about. He serves as chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Climate Change Board and is an active member of the World Economic Forum.

According to his Alcatel-Lucent bio, Verwaayen is also a champion of eco-sustainability for the company. He has called for three initiatives, including advocating Alcatel-Lucent develop and provide low-carbon communications technology solutions, reduce its own carbon footprint, and actively participate in key discussions worldwide geared to combating climate change.--Sue

Special Report: Top 25 Most Powerful People in U.S. Wireless 2012