A Look at Lucent's CFO: Cause or Effect?

Most people know about the ongoing barrage of problems facing Lucent, including the recent firing of CEO Richard McGinn. Now that the dust from his departure has settled, analysts are beginning to scrutinize other areas of the company, including the role played by CFO Deborah C. Hopkins.

Hopkins came to Lucent last spring, having left Boeing with a string of successes to her credit. Lucent hired her to help fix the problems plaguing the company--not an easy task given McGinn's record for wanting to run things his own way. Add to this the company's too little-too late approach in recognizing fiber optics were vital to the telecommunications industry.

Today, Hopkins has accomplished much. In the few months since she arrived, she dramatically reduced balance sheet accounts receivables, in part by providing incentives to employees to help reduce receivables and make improvements to income statement items. Now, she is credited with helping turn around the company's services businesses.

Still, analysts wonder if Lucent can make the turn-around it needs to while Hopkins is in her position and while the search for a new CEO is underway. If the company continues to lose money, there no doubt will be speculation that she isn't performing at the hghest level.

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