Alcatel-Lucent Cuts Combes Pay After Criticism From Politicians

Alcatel-Lucent SA reduced the compensation package of former Chief Executive Officer Michel Combes, caving in to pressure from French politicians calling his remuneration excessive.

Combes will receive cash instead of stock, with a bonus of a maximum of 4.85 million euros ($5.5 million) and a non-competition payment of 3.1 million euros, the Paris-based network-equipment maker said in a statement Friday. The reward is subject to social charges and taxes so the amount Combes receives will be less. Alcatel-Lucent had previously said Combes would get stock over three years worth about 13 million euros at current prices.

The remuneration package revived the debate on executive compensation in France, with Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron calling the reward “shocking” and Finance Minister Michel Sapin saying it lacked “common sense and restraint.”

Combes left Alcatel-Lucent after helping to negotiate the sale of the company to Nokia Oyj. Leading up to the agreed takeover, Combes revamped Alcatel-Lucent by cutting costs, restructuring research labs and renegotiating debt. He also slashed thousands of jobs to revive a company that Combes said had neared bankruptcy.

Shares of Alcatel-Lucent tripled during Combes’s tenure. The executive, 53, was named chief operating officer of billionaire Patrick Drahi’s telecommunications company Altice NV on Aug. 31.

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