Notebaert successor picked?
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2007
A Wall Street analyst said comments made by Qwest chief
executive Dick Notebaert this week appear to indicate his
successor has been picked.
"It appears the company has made a decision regarding the new
CEO and will likely make an announcement within the month," UBS
analyst John Hodulik wrote in a research note.
During an earnings call with analysts Wednesday, Notebaert said
the board is "moving along" in finding his replacement.
"My expectation -- again, it's a personal expectation -- is that
that will happen very soon," Notebaert said. "I would remind
everybody on the call that under the current (Sarbanes-Oxley
rules), performance or results have to be certified by the CFO
and the CEO. It would be very difficult for someone to step in
here the day before this call, where the results are published,
and sign a document saying -- certifying those results."
Janco Partners analyst Donna Jaegers said Wednesday that those
comments made it sound like a replacement had been chosen.
"It sounded like (the successor) was right outside the door
almost," Jaegers said.
Hodulik said in his note that Qwest should appoint an industry
veteran to help the company restore confidence with Wall
Street. Qwest stock has taken a hit since Notebaert announced
retirement plans in June. Several of his top executives,
including ex-chief financial officer Oren Shaffer, also
announced retirements this year.
"We believe the appointment of (and acceptance by) a credible
telecom industry veteran could help shore up sentiment in Qwest
shares, which have been under pressure since the first
defections," Hodulik wrote.
Also Thursday, Morgan Stanley's Simon Flannery and CIBC World
Markets' Timothy Horan upgraded their ratings on Qwest stock.
Qwest shares rose 25 cents to close at $8.65.
Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or