Bell Labs gets new leader

Lucent is pinning its hopes for a turnaround on the new head of its Bell Labs division.

Last month, Lucent announced that Bill O’Shea would take over as president of Bell Labs and would also serve as the company’s chief technology officer. Lucent also said that Jeff Jaffe, who was recently named vice president of Bell Labs Research, will become president of Bell Labs Research and Advanced Technologies, reporting to O’Shea.

“Bell Labs is the heart and soul of Lucent Technologies and is central to Lucent’s turnaround,” said Lucent Chairman and CEO Henry Schacht in a statement. “The partnership between our product and market units and our R&D labs has never been more critical.”

O’Shea succeeds Arun Netravali, who will pursue other interests outside of Lucent, although he has also accepted the post of chief scientist and will continue to report to Schacht. In that role, Netravali will work with the academic and investment communities to identify new technologies and will act as an adviser to Lucent senior management on technical and customer issues.

O’Shea, 54, is the 10th executive to head Bell Labs, which was created in 1925. He began his career with a job at Bell Labs in 1972. He was also the head of the company’s Business Communications Systems, which was spun off to become Avaya Inc.

– Jim Duffy