Nortel CFO Leaves After Probe

In these days of SEC probes and FBI investigations, Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) isn't taking any chances. Its CFO, Terry G. Hungle, is leaving the building after allegedly transferring his 401K funds outside the permitted timeframe (see Nortel's Hungle Forced Out).

Hungle, a 20-year veteran of Nortel, served just over four months as CFO, taking over when Frank A. Dunn became CEO in October 2001 (see Nortel Swings Axe, Switches CEOs). Dunn will be doubling as CFO until the board can find a replacement for Hungle.

Despite his years with the company, Hungle appears to be leaving in disgrace, his wrongdoing clearly delineated in a statement issued by Nortel late this afternoon: "In March 2001 (at which time Hungle was vice-president, finance and business development - Americas), Hungle transferred an investment (of approximately US$78,500) from a stock fund investing primarily in the Nortel Network's common shares to a fixed income fund. In December 2001, Hungle transferred an investment (of approximately US$86,300) from the fixed income fund to the stock fund... These transactions occurred outside the trading windows imposed by the Corporation upon certain employees, including Hungle."

Each of those moves came shortly before major preannouncements by Nortel.

It may sound like relatively small potatoes -- and certainly not large profits for Hungle, considering the stakes of his CFO job -- but Nortel apparently wanted no taint of wrongdoing to foul its already beleaguered financial results. The company's statement makes it clear that Hungle's changes were unknown to the company when it issued its quarterly financial press releases on March 27 and December 21.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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