Revolving Doors: All Change!

Two of the top global PBX vendors have changed out top men at short notice – one a surprise and the other yet another CEO.

The surprise change out is the swift departure of Moreno Ciboldia Avaya. The ink had only just dried on the new contract Moreno had been given a few weeks ago to take up the post of VP Channel and Partners for EMEA when news came in that he had been asked to leave the company.

The reason? We’re not sure and are still digging but is must have been something serious or fundamental that has occurred to make the departure so sudden.

The second change out is the appointment of yet another CEO at Nortel with Bill Owens stepping down as the company’s president and CEO. No reason has been given for the departure.

Owens, who will be replaced by 51-year-old ex-Motorola executive Mike Zafirovski on Nov. 15, said the company is entering a new phase in its recovery — and therefore needs someone younger at the helm.

Investors seemed to welcome the news, sending Nortel’s stock up by about five per cent in trading on the TSX Monday.

Owens, a former U.S. admiral, stepped into the CEO role after the firing of former CEO Frank Dunn along with nine other CEOs in April 2004. That followed a massive accounting fraud that resulted in shareholder lawsuits and regulatory and criminal probes in the United States and Canada. Nortel has also never recovered from the dot-com bubble burst, when its stock tumbled from highs above $120 per share to under $1.

But its fortunes have improved of late, with the company reporting in August that second-quarter profit had almost tripled as demand from wireless carriers soared. The company also said sales this year would exceed analysts’ estimates.