MURRAY HILL, NJ: Amid a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
investigation and a credit rating cut, telecommunications manufacturer
Lucent has selected a new head of investor relations.
Barbara Gasper joined Lucent a week ago as president of IR from
Raytheon, an electronics and aviation company. She takes over the role
from John DeBono, who will head IR for Agere, Lucent's microelectronics
The company plans to spin Agere off as a separate company later this
Gasper's immediate problems include an SEC investigation into Lucent's
accounting practices, and a credit rating cut to one level above junk by
Standard & Poor's and Moody's investor services. The company's credit
rating has been cut four times since October, when the board fired the
CEO, who has yet to be permanently replaced. Lucent stock is down 70%
for the year, from above $77 at the end of 1999, to the $15 range more recently.
Lucent also faces a class action lawsuit from stockholders who allege
that from October 27, 1999, to January 6, 2000, the company issued
materially false and/or misleading company financial information.
Company spokeswoman Debbi Lewis said Gasper is still sorting out how to
deal with the problems, but said she will help implement a restructuring
plan developed by company executives.
'IR is going to work with the entire treasury and CFO team to help
implement the plan and help the various audiences understand it,' said
The plan to cut $2 billion in costs and improve working capital
by nearly $2 billion includes product line and job eliminations.
Lucent has already announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees.
'Barbara has just arrived, but she's looking at things and learning, and
she'll be up to speed very soon,' predicted Lewis.