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When Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU) dismissed CEO Patricia Russo last month, speculation immediately turned to who might want to to succeed her in what is probably the toughest job in telecom: reversing the course of a company that has suffered six straight quarters of losses and had never really recovered from the ill-advised 2006 merger that formed the company.

Now The Wall Street Journal reports that a decision is near and Mike Quigley (pictured), a longtime Alcatel manager who left the company last year, is the front runner. According to the report, the final decision is still weeks away. But just a sign of progress has given a badly needed lift to the company's shares.

And for what it's worth, although Quigley hails from the Alcatel side of the business, which has remained famously divided along national and old company lines since the merger, he is not French. Quigley is a native of Australia.

Source: Alcatel-Lucent May Tap Mike Quigley for CEO