Optical/IP Networks

Qwest Names New CEO

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) has named former Ameritech chief Edward A. Mueller as its new chairman and CEO, replacing Richard Notebaert. (See Qwest Names New CEO.)

Notebaert, who announced his retirement plans in June this year, will hand over the reins to his 60-year-old successor this Wednesday, August 15. (See Notebaert to Qwit Qwest.)

The new CEO was chosen, according to Qwest's official announcement, because of his "unique combination of telecom and consumer marketing experience, and his demonstrated leadership talent."

He has, though, been out of the telecom services sector for four years, during which the competitive landscape has changed dramatically.

Mueller joined SBC in 1968 and held a number of executive positions before becoming president and CEO of Pacific Bell in 1997 following Pacbell's acquisition by SBC.

In 1999 he became president of SBC International Operations before taking the helm at another SBC acquisition, Ameritech, in 2000, a job he held until 2002.

Mueller then became CEO of retail chain Williams-Sonoma in 2003, having been a member of the company's board since 1999.

In today's announcement, Notebaert, who performed well as Qwest's CEO, according to the results of a Light Reading poll, states that Mueller was his "top recommendation to the board."

Mueller becomes CEO as Qwest, which relies on partnerships for its wireless and TV services, strives to boost revenues from non-traditional services. (See Qwest CEO: No Need for New U-verse.)

Qwest's share price closed Friday at $8.37, giving the operator a market capitalization of $15.3 billion.

He also takes over just as one of his predecessors makes the news for all the wrong reasons – former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio has just been sentenced to a six-year stretch for insider trading. (See Former Qwest Boss Gets Six for Insider Trading.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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