Financially embattled Qwest Communications International Inc. took yet
another public-relations hit with the announcement that its president and chief
operating officer will resign effective Dec. 31.
Afshin Mohebbi, who rose to the position under former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio,
gave the classic resignation reasoning: He wants to spend more time with his
family and pursue other business opportunities.
The company will not be filling the position. Instead, his management team
will report directly to current chairman and CEO Richard Notebaert.
Mohebbi, widely regarded as a level head to Nacchio's more fiery management
style, had faced fire nevertheless in the wake of investigations by the
Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission into
questionable revenue-accounting practices, particularly dealing with capacity
swaps with other carriers.
Electronic mails presented during October congressional hearings indicated
that he had pressed employees to close potentially questionable deals.
The Denver-based Baby Bell still faces serious financial issues, particularly
with a massive $24 billion-plus debt load. Earlier this week, it announced that
it will trade $12.9 billion of that debt for bonds with longer maturity dates to
avoid a debt-payment crisis.