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chief Richard McGinn continues to retool the ailing communications equipment maker by shaking up the executive suites.

Less than a week after Lucent

warned investors of a disappointing financial performance for its fiscal fourth quarter, the company said Monday that it was replacing its president of North American sales. Another executive said he was stepping down, while a third was reassigned.

Lucent's Nina Aversano

Nina Aversano, a 24-year veteran of



and Lucent, will be replaced by Bill Nelson, a former general manager of sales for Lucent's traditional phone equipment. According to Lucent, Aversano has decided to retire at the end of the year. Aversano was unavailable for comment.

In addition, John Drew, the head of Lucent's network consulting and planning unit, said he was leaving. A Lucent spokeswoman said the executive was "going off to pursue some personal interests and passions." And John Heindel, president of Lucent's Saudi Arabian operations, will be reassigned, effectively replacing Drew and heading a newly consolidated network support unit.

Lucent's plunging stock price

Aversano's surprise departure is the third sudden exit this year by a Lucent executive leading a troubled division. In August, Aversano's boss, Patricia Russo

stepped down. In July, optical chief Harry Bosco said he was speeding up his retirement plans, a move widely held by observers as a

forced departure.

Meanwhile, Lucent's McGinn and Chief Financial Officer Deborah Hopkins are in their fourth month of "take it apart put it back together again" restructuring. Yet many analysts and insiders

question whether McGinn deserves to be a part of the retooling or the new company.

Lucent officials tried to downplay the executive shuffle Monday. A Lucent spokeswoman said Aversano's decision was personal and voluntary, and any conclusions made from the company's sales performance and Aversano's departure would be "speculation."