So what exactly does Nortel's chief strategy officer do? He tells LRTV he has four buckets of responsibility

July 14, 2006

2 Min Read
Riedel's Four Buckets

Nortel Networks Ltd. is in the midst of a broad strategy re-assessment that covers technology, partnerships, M&A, and investments in startups, the vendor's new Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) George Riedel has told Light Reading TV. (See Nortel's George Riedel.)

In an interview conducted at last month's Globalcomm industry event, Riedel, who joined Nortel from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) in February this year, outlined what Nortel is up to at present, and also what his job as CSO involves. (See Nortel Poaches Juniper Strategist.)

Riedel says he thinks of his job "in four buckets. One is strategy development… What's the plan going forward? Where do we focus resources? Where do we expect to win?

"Secondly, there are a range of business development activities, whether partnerships or M&A-related things; third is capability-building in the team, how to develop strategy tools and processes for the company.

"And fourth is finding new emerging opportunities. We have got an incubation effort under way where we expect to put some capital into new startups or venture firms to grow into businesses on the horizon."

That's a big job at a company trying to compete with an emerging set of super-vendors. (See Lucatel: New Team, Old Faces, Nokia, Siemens Create Networks Giant, Ericsson Buys Bulk of Marconi, and Post Nokia Siemens, Whither Nortel, Others?)

So, we asked, is working at Nortel stressful? "I used to have hair before we started, so yes," says a jovial Riedel.

And with some of Nortel's key rivals teaming up to create even bigger rivals, does Riedel see Nortel joining in the M&A merry-go-round?

"It's a challenge in the short term to navigate through [the telecom sector consolidation]. Do we see a role that Nortel would play in shaping that? Absolutely. The specifics are a bit early to speculate on, but we see an opportunity to participate in that very strongly." (See Sources: Siemens, Nortel, Avaya Mull JV and Is Nortel the Old Maid in Telecom M&A?)

What Nortel will do in terms of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships that could help fill technology gaps is being addressed right now, according to Riedel. "Partnerships can play an important role in our portfolio. We are going through a process now, called Session Two. It's a strategy development process to assess what gaps we have… So stay tuned for a better understanding of where we expect to see partnerships fill that gap."

One of those gaps is fixed broadband access, where Nortel had announced plans to form a joint venture with Chinese giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , but, as Riedel explains, that fell through last month. (See Nortel, Huawei Kill JV.)

Check out the LRTV interview to hear what Riedel has to say about that relationship, and Nortel's developments in carrier Ethernet, IMS, IPTV, WiMax, IP routing, and more. (See BT Likes Nortel's New Ethernet Flavor.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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