Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Gets New CEO to Lead Cloud Effort

The company names Jack Chen as its new CEO and reiterates its cloud-based strategy even as it continues investing in traditional products.

cloud networking

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise officials earlier this year outlined a strategy that focused on embracing the cloud as a key way to deliver networking and communications technologies to customers, and launched two new consumption models as part of the initiative.

Now Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) has named a new leader to help drive the company's strategy going forward.

The networking and communications vendor this month announced that Jack Chen is now the company's CEO, replacing acting chief executive Jeff Ma, who will remain as a member of ALE's board of directors. Chen came to ALE from Alcatel-Lucent, where he was head of the company's wireless business in China and the Asia/Pacific region. Prior to that, he held other positions within Alcatel-Lucent's business in China.

Alcatel-Lucent was bought by Nokia for $16.6 billion last year in an effort to create a larger networking vendor to compete with the likes of Ericsson, Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies. ALE had been the enterprise networking and communications business of Alcatel-Lucent before it was sold in 2014 to Chinese investment company China Huaxin as part of the parent company's larger Shift Plan, a multiyear effort to slash costs.

The move in leadership and the focus on a cloud strategy for ALE comes as the company is looking to expand its reach in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving networking market. Enterprises and telecommunications companies are adopting such network virtualization technologies as software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) to make their networks more agile, dynamic, programmable, scalable and affordable and to help them address increasing demands for more bandwidth and faster service deliver.

ALE's new strategy for offering customers multiple options for buying and using its networking and communications technologies—from buying the equipment upfront or getting them via the cloud—will make the company a larger player in the field, according to officials.

"Over the past six months, we have put in place a business strategy to go after new market opportunities and a new management team to lead the transformation of ALE," Ma said in a statement, adding that the "new CEO will build on the work that the organization has done and drive growth for ALE."

In recent weeks, ALE has launched two programs as part of this strategy. The company in early March introduced Rainbow, a cloud-based freemium unified communications (UC) service that includes such features as voice and video conferencing—which includes screen and file sharing—IM and presence.

Later that month, the company rolled out Network on Demand, a network-as-a-service offering that is designed to drive down costs and increase flexibility by enabling businesses to pay only for the networking resources that they use.

ALE officials said that even with the new offerings, the company will continue to invest in traditional networking and UC products in order to give customers a wide range of options.