Nortel names Zafirovski as new CEO

Nortel Networks’ board of directors has appointed Mike S. Zafirovski, 51, as the networking giant’s next president and CEO. Zafirovski will succeed Bill Owens, the current Nortel president and CEO, on November 15th 2005.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  October 18, 2005

Nortel Networks’ board of directors has appointed Mike S. Zafirovski, 51, as the networking giant’s next president and CEO. Zafirovski will succeed Bill Owens, the current Nortel president and CEO, on November 15th 2005. “Mike Zafirovski has the kind of proven, team-building leadership that has seen him create significant new value during his career in two of the world’s most important global corporations,” said Harry J. Pearce, chairman of the board at Nortel. “He’s the right leader to build on the important work of Bill Owens — and take Nortel to the next level.” Zafirovski has spent the last three decades working at two of the world’s highest profile corporations: General Electric and Motorola. From 1975 to 2000, Zafirovski held a number of senior positions at General Electric. In 2000, Zafirovski joined Motorola as president and CEO of its personal communications sector, and from 2002 to 2005 as president and chief operating office of Motorola. Zafirovski said: “I’ve had the privilege, through my career of working for organisations whose success was based on understanding and leveraging tremendous internal brainpower and human capital. And that’s why I’m so excited about Nortel. I see those same characteristics at play. They’re the foundation of Nortel’s tradition of leadership and innovation, its global presence and its iconic status for technical excellence.” “Bill is leaving a company uniquely positioned for the future that can capitalise on vital opportunities around the world. His dedication and results are both evident as well as significant, and I thank him for his support and contributions,” continued Zafirovski. “Candidly, there are very few companies that combine Nortel’s rich legacy of innovative leadership and customer base with its enviable position in the world's most important and fastest growing markets. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the global and dynamic team of men and women at Nortel,” he added. Pearce saluted the achievements of outgoing vice-chairman and CEO Bill Owens. “At a moment of great challenge and enormous need in the history of this company, the board turned to one of its own, whose long career embodied the highest levels of trust, integrity and distinguished leadership,” he said. “We needed an experienced, steady hand and Bill delivered. On behalf of our board, our employees, investors, partners and customers, we will be forever grateful.” “Bill re-established stability within Nortel and credibility with all its stakeholders. He guided the company in becoming current in its financial reporting and maintained the loyalty of our customers. Mike can now build for the future on the strong foundation Bill Owens has given us,” Pearce added. Owens said: “As Nortel has said over the past many months we are playing to win and Mike’s coming on board is a most important step along that path. His proven track record in the global telecom sector and the business world will serve this company, our shareholders and our customers extremely well. I’m proud to have him take the helm.” “We are proud of and pleased with our achievements over the past 19 months. We are on a very stable, solid footing, with a rebuilt and strong senior management team, are back to regular financial reporting, and are growing business in some of the most important markets in the world. The employees, customers and partners of this great company are world class and I am deeply grateful for their support and dedication. At 65, I'm now pleased to turn over this company to a proven leader to drive our success over many years ahead,” Owens concluded.

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