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BellSouth Picks a COO

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/29/2004

BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) today named Mark Feidler as its new chief operating officer, along with a host of other executive changes. When Feidler begins his term in January 2005, he'll take on a role that has been vacant since BellSouth's current CEO, Duane Ackerman, vacated the COO slot in December 1997.

Feidler had been BellSouth's chief staff officer, reporting directly to Ackerman, since January 2004. His responsibilities included advertising and PR, strategic planning and development, and mergers and acquisitions.

Feidler's appointment is but one of many executive changes at BellSouth. The company's Cingular Wireless business is changing significantly with its acquisition of AT&T Wireless and, on the wireline side, it is growing its DSL business, trying to stem access line loss, and staking its future on a converged, IP-based network.

Feidler isn't new to BellSouth. He began at BellSouth in 1991 as its director of strategic transactions. In 1993, he became VP of corporate development and, in 1996, he was made president of BellSouth's Interconnection Services.

In 1998, Feidler was appointed president of BellSouth Mobility, Inc., the carrier's wireless unit. In 2000, he was recruited to become COO of Cingular Wireless, the BellSouth/SBC joint venture.

All the while, BellSouth has helped Feidler, and vice versa. As part of an incentive agreement with BellSouth, Feidler stayed at Cingular through 2003, fended off job offers from competitors, and was paid about $12.5 million for his troubles, according to BellSouth's SEC filings.

Other BellSouth management changes announced today include:

  • Dick Anderson, currently president of BellSouth Customer Markets, has been named vice chairman of planning and administration.
  • Isaiah Harris, president of BellSouth Enterprises, has been named president of BellSouth's advertising and publishing group. Elmer Smith, the group's previous president, retires on March 31, 2005 and will report to Harris until then.
  • Rex Adams, president of BellSouth Long Distance and VP of product development and management, will replace Keith Cowan as president of BellSouth Interconnection Services. Cowan will become president of marketing and product development.
  • Roberto Peon, chief marketing officer for BellSouth International, is retiring.
  • Mark Droege, VP and CFO for BellSouth's Latin American Group, has been named VP and treasurer for BellSouth.
  • Pat Shannon, VP of finance and controller, was promoted to senior VP of finance.
  • Lynn Wentworth, VP and treasurer, will become VP and CFO of BellSouth's Communication's Group.


After a short rise in the morning, BellSouth shares fell slightly, dropping $0.12 (0.44%) to $27.08 in trading on Monday.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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