Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I Will Bring You Down, Baby

Everybody seems Himmelhoch jauchzend over Ben Verwaayen as Alcatel-Lucent's new CEO. Following a very sound tradition, here are some second thoughts. After all, he's Dutch and so am I; he's getting his hands on millions and I'm not. So, I will bring you down, baby.
  • Didn't BT's success largely hinge on the exploding broadband market? And can Ben take the credit for that?
  • Did it not also hinge on BT's functional separation? And wasn't that only accepted when the regulator (erstwhile Oftel) threatened to refer competion issues to the Competition Commission?
  • Didn't Ben come with some pretty outrageous targets in April 2002 (2 months after he started work at BT), such as a revenue CAGR of 6-8% for the years through 2004/2005 and mobile revenues of GBP 500m after 5 years (it was less than GBP 300m in the year 2006/2007)? It wasn't long before Ben became a little more cauteous and said he merely wanted to raise revenues, EBITDA, EPS and dividends on an annual basis.
  • A new MVNO deal with Vodafone (May 2004) was supposed to bring in GBP 1bn in revenues after 5 years. Well, it wasn't Ben's fault that BT sold off mmO2 (back in 2001) - and with it all sense of the mobile market.
  • Isn't Britain stuck in broadband middle ages called ADSL2+, with FTTH not really in sight?
Of course, there was lots of good stuff too, such as broadband and EBITDA margins.
So congrats, Ben!

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