Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes told France’s national assembly that he will not leave the company before ensuring the sale to Nokia was on track.

He was responding to a question posed in the parliament, following a report from French magazine Challenges last week claiming he would leave the company in mid-July to take up a role as cable group Altice’s head of Europe in September.

According to Reuters, Combes told lawmakers he will not leave Alcatel-Lucent before ensuring the sale to Nokia was safely on course. The deal is expected to close early next year. However, Combes stopped short of saying he would stay until the transaction finally closes.

He said: “Obviously after dedicating two years of my life to Alcatel-Lucent, I would do nothing to weaken it.”

After the Challenges story broke last week, Alcatel-Lucent issued a statement to Mobile World Live confirming Combes will be stepping down as result of the deal, before adding: “No date has been agreed with the board of directors. Mr Combes’ departure date will be officially communicated once it has been decided, and consistent with what Mr Combes has stated on several occasions, his new responsibilities will be communicated when it is appropriate to do so.”

Alcatel-Lucent did not confirm or deny Combes’ links to Altice, which is reportedly interested in Combes given his vast European telecoms experience.

Altice recently turned its attentions to the US cable market, and could look to Combes to manage its interests in Portugal Telecom and SFR, after taking control of both operations last year.