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Qwest CFO to Depart

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) CFO John Richardson is to leave the company after just one year as the operator's main money man and five years in total at the operator, the company announced this morning. Richardson will remain as CFO until Qwest can find a permanent replacement.

No reason was given for Richardson’s departure, though Qwest told Light Reading that the "company came to a mutual agreement that it was time to find a new CFO."

The news may have helped send Qwest's share price down by 4 cents, 0.8 percent, to $4.67.

Richardson was part of former CEO Dick Notebaert’s team that helped reverse Qwest's ailing financial fortunes. Notebaert retired last year. (See Qwest Names New CEO.)

The strategy of extreme fiscal conservatism and cost-cutting helped return the company to profitability, and in December 2007 the operator declared a cash dividend, of $0.08 per share, for the first time since June 2001.

But with the extreme cost cutting, which has included job cuts, Qwest has had to compromise on innovation. (See Qwest Cuts More Jobs.)

Like all telcos, its wireline subscriber base is shrinking, but, unlike Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), it has no wireless or video service to help it accrue new revenues, and instead must rely on partnerships to deliver those services. (See Qwest Stays Frugal in Q4.)

Its only recent significant network investments has been a $300 million enhancement of its fiber-to-the-node(FTTN) project. (See Qwest to Spend up to $300M on FTTN.)

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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