The Association of U S West Retirees



State's top Qwest exec leaving job
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Longtime Colorado Qwest President Kevin Smith is leaving the Denver telco and being replaced by public policy executive Chuck Ward.  Smith, who began his career with predecessor Mountain Bell in 1981 and assumed the top post in Colorado in 1998 while at U S West, is leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to Qwest spokesman Michael Dunne.  Smith was in a meeting and couldn't be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Ward, 53, a telecommunications veteran, came to Qwest in July 2000 from AT&T's public policy group and has been serving as vice president of public policy under Steve Davis.

Nelson Phelps, executive director of the Association of U S West Retirees, said Smith's longevity in the top state post under various regimes reflected the high regard in which he was held.

"From our perspective, I think he's been an extremely competent manager for the company and really had some key accomplishments, especially in deregulation for Qwest," Phelps said.

Phelps said Ward's appointment may show the clout of Davis, who as Qwest's senior vice president of public policy has been front and center on deregulation issues and Qwest's current push into cable-TV-like services.

Ward said he's excited about moving from a corporate staff position "to a very strong line position in a key leadership role with the company in a key state."

Qwest has more than 10,000 employees in Colorado, its home state and one of its largest markets.

Ward said his focus will be continuing to push a deregulation agenda such as opening markets to video competition, as well as representing Qwest to its key customers.

- 14 cents