The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest CEO job "attractive" to BellSouth ex
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer 
Denver Post
Friday, August 10, 2007

Telecommunications veteran and former BellSouth executive Dick Anderson, floated as a possible candidate to replace retiring Qwest chief executive Dick Notebaert, said Thursday that he thinks leading the Denver-based company would be appealing.

"Dick Notebaert has done a great job of turning Qwest around from both a service and financial perspective," said Anderson, 49.  "I think the Qwest CEO job is an attractive job."

Anderson declined to discuss any aspect of Qwest's search for a new leader, including whether he was interviewed for the job.  Qwest is expected to announce a new CEO soon, perhaps this month.

"I would bet on somebody from BellSouth," said Donna Jaegers, a telecom analyst with Janco Partners.  "You've got people that (who) grew up within the Bell system and they always wanted to be CEO.  There were a few people at BellSouth that (who) were so close they can taste it, and then BellSouth sold out to AT&T."

Citing recruiters not involved in the search and telecom insiders, The Wall Street Journal listed Anderson among five potential candidates shortly after Notebaert announced his retirement plans in June.

Former BellSouth chief operating officer Mark Feidler also has been mentioned as a candidate.  Feidler, who now runs a private-equity firm in Atlanta, was widely viewed as the successor to former BellSouth CEO Duane Ackerman before the company was acquired by AT&T last year.

Feidler reportedly turned down an offer this year to become the No. 2 at Sprint Nextel.  He didn't return calls seeking comment.

Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs declined to comment.

Notebaert has said his successor should be a seasoned veteran from the communications sector with a strong retail mind-set.

Anderson started as an account executive with South Central Bell, a BellSouth predecessor, in June 1981.

He held various positions with BellSouth, serving as vice chairman of planning and administration before it was acquired by AT&T.  As one of the few high-ranking BellSouth executives to stay with the company after the merger, Anderson was named group president for global business services of the combined company.  He resigned from AT&T in June.

When asked what Qwest could work on strategically, Anderson said video and wireless.  Qwest partners with DirecTV and Sprint Nextel to offer those services.

"I do think video is important.  We found it important in all of our customer research," said Anderson.  "The thing that Qwest (also) has to continue to work on -- I know they have a relationship with Sprint -- I really do believe you have to have a wireless offering."

Anderson, an Atlanta resident, added that Qwest has a good position serving enterprise business customers.

"If I were standing in their shoes, I would be thinking I want to continue to strengthen my offerings in the mass market, but I would not want to walk away from the enterprise strength that they bring to the table," he said.

Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or