After a dismal period that saw the company's stock price fall to the
$5-per-share range and its bond status fall to junk, embattled Qwest
Communications International Inc. chairman and CEO Joe Nacchio is out.
The Denver-based Baby Bell announced Monday that Richard C. Notebaert is
taking over as chairman and CEO effective immediately.
Although other reports indicated that the Qwest board pressured Nacchio to
resign, the official company line is that he voluntarily stepped down. He will
continue to serve as a consultant to the company for up to two years and assist
in the leadership transition.
At the same time, Philip Anschutz, one of
Nacchio's longtime board allies, also resigned as nonexecutive chairman. He will
remain a director and chairman of the board's executive committee.
Notebaert -- former chairman and CEO of Ameritech Corp. before it merged with
SBC Communications Inc. -- was most recently president and CEO of
telecommunications gear-maker Tellabs Inc.
He inherits a company bogged down by some $26 billion in debt and a bond
rating at junk level.
'We must now focus on rebuilding shareholder value and ensuring that Qwest's
employees, partners and customers can benefit from our strengths,' said Frank
Popoff, a Qwest board member and chairman of the compensation committee, in a
'We need an experienced new leader with strong operational skills for the
next phase of the company's development,' Popoff added.