France’s government and unions called on the head of telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent to renounce reported bonuses of some 14 million euros he could receive after the firm was swallowed up by its rival Nokia.
Michel Combes, who has headed the French-American company since 2013, is due to step down as part of a 15.6-billion-euro ($17.4billion) deal to create the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone network equipment.
The Journal du Dimanche newspaper, citing official documents and current share values, said Sunday he could receive almost 14 million euros in bonuses over three years.
“It is quite rightly causing controversy,” the spokesman for the Socialist government Stephane Le Foll told reporters.
The size of any such bonus “is always political at a time when we are emerging from what is a difficult crisis for a lot of French people.”
He called on Combes to “reflect” on the bonus.
Alcatel-Lucent defended Combes who “has multiplied by six times the value of the company and saved it from bankruptcy.”
It said the amount he is due to receive is not linked to his departure and that the share payout is due to the success of the firm’s tie-up with Nokia.
Since his arrival, Combes has overseen a recovery plan that has tripled its share value but led to the loss of 10,000 jobs.
The CFE-CGC union said he “should have the grace to renounce most of the bonuses” as he had instituted a “recovery plan of unprecedented violence.”