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Nortel replaces chief executive

Antony Savvas

Nortel Networks is replacing its chief executive officer with the former chief operating officer of Motorola.

Mike Zafirovski, who left Motorola in February, is replacing current CEO Bill Owens on 15 November.

Owens, a Nortel stalwart, was brought in to head the company following the accountancy scandal which forced Nortel to re-state its accounts going back a number of years.

The re-statement process is now complete and Owens is now leaving the company.

"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 Pearce, chairman of the Nortel board.

"He is the right leader to build on the important work of Bill Owens and take Nortel to the next level," said Pearce.

Zafirovski, 51, held senior positions at General Electric between 1975 and 2000. In 2000, he joined Motorola, first as president and CEO of the personal communications division, and then served between 2002 and 2005 as the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Owens said, “At 65, I'm now pleased to turn over this company to a proven leader to drive our success over many years ahead.”     

Zafirovski emigrated to the US in 1969 from Macedonia.

He is a director of the Boeing Corporation.


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