Qwest Names CEO to Lead Shift Back to Local Service

In March 2000, Joseph P. Nacchio, the brash chief executive of Qwest Communications International Inc., predicted his company's $50 billion merger with US West would create a limber, high-growth global telecommunications powerhouse.

Former Baby Bells such as US West -- the dominant local provider in 14 western states -- were widely thought to be lumbering relics. The future seemed to belong to highfliers such as Qwest, which spent billions investing in fiber-optic networks worldwide. But since then the long-distance industry has suffered a devastating downturn and the local telephone monopolies are once again emerging as havens for investors.

Yesterday, Nacchio, a former AT&T Corp. executive, felt the impact of that shift in thinking. Qwest's board announced that it had replaced him amid the firm's struggles with a plummeting stock price, more than $26 billion in debt and a federal investigation into its accounting practices.

Taking Nacchio's place is Richard C. Notebaert, a 30-year veteran of the local telephone industry, with a reputation as a personable, low-key executive. Notebaert most recently was chief executive of Tellabs Inc., a telecom-equipment manufacturer. Before that he served for five years as CEO of Ameritech Communications Inc., once the Midwest's dominant local telephone company. Ameritech merged with SBC Communications Inc. in 1999.

News source: Tech News - Qwest Names CEO to Lead Shift Back to Local Service

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