The Association of U S West Retirees



Notebaert says 'Qwest' normal today
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Qwest CEO Dick Notebaert today answered critics who say he's leaving the Denver telco before the job is finished.  "We're a normal company (now)," Notebaert said.  "You're never finished.  The journey is never done."

Notebaert said he had been thinking about retiring for a while, made his decision to leave last Thursday night, slept on it, and "and woke up on Friday morning and it didn't change."

He said it would have been wrong not to disclose his decision immediately, hence one of the reasons he didn't have a hand-picked successor ready.  Notebaert also already had a trip planned to meet with major investors on the East Coast, and felt it was important for them to be able to address the issue.

Notebaert made his comments in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News at Qwest's corporate offices in downtown Denver.  As is his custom, he was wearing a Qwest-branded dress shirt, with no tie.

Notebaert replaced ousted Joe Nacchio in June 2002, inheriting a company under federal investigation, and whose stock and business was in a downward spiral.

Analysts credit with Notebaert bringing Qwest back from the brink, and placing it on a firm financial footing.  Notebaert said his major regret is that he wasn't able to pull that off in three years, rather than five.

"I feel a little bad about that," he said.  "I feel really good about everything else."

Notebaert didn't say how long he plans to be involved in his civic commitments in Colorado, but he did say he will give all the advice Mayor John Hickenlooper wants in preparation for the Democratic National Convention.

He indicated he plans to sell his home in Denver, and spend the bulk of his time in the Midwest, where his children and five granchildren live.  Notebaert has an apartment in Chicago, a lakefront home in Wisconsin, and a home in Florida.  Three homes is enough, he said.

Notebaert is helping the board of directors pick a successor, and lead director Frank Popoff said earlier this week that he hopes the decision will be made quickly.,2777,DRMN_23910_5585960,00.html