Alcatel-Lucent slashes Combes 'golden parachute' payment

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Alcatel-Lucent bowed to political pressure by agreeing to almost halve the bonuses it will pay to former CEO Michel Combes, to €7.9 million ($8.9 million).

The company faced intense media criticism and public outrage regarding the bonus payments, which covered elements including long term compensation and rewards for overseeing the sale of Alcatel-Lucent to Nokia, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Combes left Alcatel-Lucent on Sep.1 to take on the role of COO at Altice and of chairman of the company's French mobile operator Numericable-SFR. However pressure on his former company from politicians and unions had been building throughout August when details of the so-called 'golden parachute' payment were made public, the Journal reported.

At the time news of the payment was revealed, French government spokesperson Stephane Le Foll told reporters that the issues of bonuses were "always political when we are emerging from what is a difficult crisis for a lot of French people."

France's CFE-CGC union had also criticised the payment, after Combes cut around 10,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.

Although the company defended Combes performance, Alcatel-Lucent on Friday said that its board had subsequently reviewed Combes' compensation package and revised the bonuses to be paid down from the €14 million originally stipulated.

Alcatel-Lucent added that the final bonuses paid to Combes could be lowered again. The final sum the former CEO will receive will be based on the infrastructure company's performance through the remainder of 2015.

Combes recently said he would seek to return Numericable-SFR to a position of profit, but would not engage in a fresh price war in the French market to achieve his goals.

For more:
-see this Wall Street Journal article

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