Friday, June 10, 2005

Nortel President & CTO Quit

Mark Evans



The shocking departures today of Nortel president and COO Gary Daichendt and CTO Gary Kunis are, quite simply, an unmitigated disaster. For these guys to walk after less than three months on the job is bizarre beyond comprehension. Daichendt and Kunis were supposed to be part of the solution; they were going to be a key part of Nortel's return to respectability after an embarassing accounting scandal. What went wrong is anyone's guess but I've rarely seen anything so outrageous in the 10 years I've covered the high-tech/telecom industry. Personally, I think Daichendt and Kunis joined Nortel based on the idea they had the ability to re-invent a company whose technology portfolio - other than GSM - is not allowing it to compete in the high-growth markets. When they presented their restructuring plan to the board, it was rejected as too radical. If you're the Nortel board, your options now are: stay the course, which seems unpalatable despite CEO Bill Owens' optimism, or start the deal-making process by selling some units and/or making some strategic acquisitions.
Sadly, Nortel has become a bad soap opera. Perhaps all news coverage should begin with "As the Nortel Turns". Nortel, by the way, is not granting interviews or holding a conference call with analysts today. So much for all the talk about coporate transparency.

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