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Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

Light Reading
11/18/2003
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In a world of colorful annuals, D. G. "Greg" Mumford, CTO of Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), is the hardy perennial. In fact, he's the only one to earn an ongoing spot in Light Reading's Top Ten list, a testament to his sheer endurance.

The hog-riding snapdragon from British Columbia has not only spent 32 years at Nortel, but stuck it out in upper management through the worst period in the company's history.

Mumford was joined at the hip with Don Smith in 2000 (see The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking), but he was left on his own as Nortel started a massive reorg early in 2001 (see Don Smith Leaves Nortel). The door to the executive suite commenced revolving uncontrollably: The CTO left under a cloud (see Nortel CTO Quits as Woes Mount). The COO and marketing mogul left (see Nortel's Empty Room at the Top and Nortel Finds New Marketing Chief). The CEO retired, was replaced, and was pilloried for greed (see Nortel Swings Axe, Switches CEOs and Nortel's Roth Rakes It In). The company's divisions were mixed and matched (see Nortel Unifies Optical). The would-be CEO left (see Plastina Out in Nortel Reshuffle). Through it all, Mumford stayed the course.

Mumford hasn't always made the right decisions. As manager and president of Nortel's optical products group from 1991 through 2001, when he became CTO (see Nortel Bets on Mumford), he must share some of the blame for Nortel's failure to cash in on IP routing, its slow rollout of the HDX grooming switch (see Nortel's HDX is Here and Nortel's HDX: The Future Under Fire ), and its rash of poorly picked acquisitions (see Whatever Happened to X?).

So what's so special about Mumford? Or Nortel, for that matter? Well, if one were to look at the slashing and burning that's gone on around the industry, Nortel has done a decent job of paring back to a core group of technically excellent products. Mumford can be credited with keeping Nortel focused on carrier Ethernet, a tack that's helped fuel its dominant hold in the metro and storage spaces (see Research: Metro Optical Peps Up). As CTO, Mumford can also take kudos for Nortel's ongoing strength in voice over IP, softswitching, and wireless technology, exemplified by strong wins worldwide (see Nortel Targets Carrier VOIP Migration, Nortel Wins China VOIP Deal, MCI Picks Nortel for VOIP, Nortel's Summer Abroad, and Nortel Lands Monster, SaskTel Deals).

And, honestly, Mumford can market with a minimum of BS. A list of Mumfordisms would be too exhaustive to introduce here. Okay, we'll pass along just one: "I hesitate to generalize, and blind loyalty serves no one." We have that crocheted on a pillow in our office. Thanks, Greg.
 
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sir-wish-pro-wide-her
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sir-wish-pro-wide-her,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:43 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
1. You guys are seem a bit harsh on those that seem to have fallen from grace
2. Is there a typo in Really Horrible Haiku"? Is it supposed to be Hagger The Horrible?
3. I think you missed one more deserving entry in the "Has Been Bin". I would have included the lightreading staff member that had picked the previous top 10 movers and shakers :-)
btierney
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btierney,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:42 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
oops was refering to anderson and ferri
btierney
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btierney,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:42 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
and these guys really thought they could walk on water....
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
You admit that Lucent isn't performing well and yet you suggest we put Pat on our list because she's a woman?

Or because Fortune called her a powerful woman?

That sounds like the wrong thing to do for all the wrong reasons.

ph

P.S. Fortune magazine called Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years.
Tony Li
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Tony Li,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

Is it just me, or are all of the links pointing to their staging area?

Tony
Scott Raynovich
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Scott Raynovich,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
no, it's not you... we screwed up.

we are fixing, but in the meantime the links on the left-hand side of the page in the black bar will get you where you need to go
indica1019
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indica1019,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
It's shameful that Lightreading contributes to the sexism in the telecom industry by not including a single woman on the Top Ten list.

While Fortune has put Pat Russo on it's 10 Most Powerful Women in Business again this year, she apparently doesn't make LR's cut. Lucent might not be at the top of it's game, but it's a hell of lot better off after Pat's tough decisions that none of her predecessors had the balls to make.

LR editors - when are you going to wake up from your cozy British boy's club and realize that the rest of the world has moved on? Get with it, mates.
dodo
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dodo,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:40 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
you may disagree but Pat's tough decisions were made(are being taken) to ensure that she together with her ilks can continue to fill their pockets whilst a lot of talent may be queuing in the food line once their severance and unemployment run out.

What innovative or groung-breaking decisions has she taken so far to sustain the business ?
Zilch !

Hence she has no place in the top ten JMHO
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:39 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
re: "Hey Phil -- aren't you from Texas?"

Yep.

re: "What's this 'cozy Brit boys club' that indica's talking about?"

Dunno. Maybe someone's been reading Orwell's "Burmese Days" and they think I'm Ellis.
sevenbrooks
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sevenbrooks,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:39 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

I would have nominated Pat Russo for perhaps the worst CEO in telecom. She needs to cut horrible businesses and move along. Yet, she refuses to do so at the peril of Lucent. Its still a dog, its shrinking and no obvious path to growth.

Get rid of the dead wood.

Jim
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