Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) says its chief marketing and strategy officer, Anil Khatod, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

The announcement comes at a time when Nortel is experiencing large financial losses, layoffs, and a somewhat ill-defined management future. The company is currently searching for a successor to CEO John Roth, who has set his retirement date for April 2002 (see Nortel's Empty Room at the Top). Clarence Chandran, the former Nortel COO who was considered Roth's successor, resigned for health reasons (see Nortel's Chandran Resigns). Also this year, Don Smith, Nortel's former president of Optical Internet Solutions, left to join Mitel Networks (see Don Smith's Mitel Shocker).

Khatod's resignation was announced in an email sent to all Nortel employees Thursday. "Nortel Networks is grateful for Anil's leadership and contributions over the last several years," says David Chamberlin, a Nortel spokesman.

"Anil played a key role in building our optical leadership as well as in setting our marketing strategy. We wish him all the best in his new endeavors. An announcement will be made shortly regarding the leadership of the CM&SO [Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer] organization."

Khatod, who reported directly to Roth hasn't yet made his next move known. Light Reading was unable to reach him for comment.

Since joining Nortel in 1982, Khatod has been president of Nortel's Optical Internet division and its Wireless Internet business. He's also been vice president of Global Internet Solutions.

Khatod was only promoted to his current position in April. His new role put him in charge of Nortel's mergers and acquisitions activities, global marketing, technology strategy, advertising, and corporate communications.

After his promotion Khatod told The Toronto Star that Nortel was better off than its competitors in tight times because of its extensive relationships with service providers. "All the major competitors are struggling far worse than Nortel is," he told the paper.

Khatod's departure comes just days before Nortel announces its second-quarter financial results on July 19. Nortel is expected to announce a quarterly net loss of $19.2 billion on revenues of $4.5 billion (see Nortel's Nuclear Winter), which includes roughly $12 billion in special charges.

- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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beta1q2w 12/4/2012 | 8:05:46 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns The patronage culture is a fact of life. One should always try to minimize this. One method Nortel uses is to change the CEO on a regular basis. When Monty left, Roth put in place his own people who in turn, shape their own organizations. The problem I see here is Roth's ability to select talent and ability.

He seems to be attracted to people who drive fast cars like himself... Dave House was a car lover.. his former CTO Hawe, loved to drive fast cars.....Mumford likes to drive fast motorcycles..."biker Greg"

Building an effective, lean management team is very difficult. It takes, keen understanding of people and oneself, courage to make the right decisions, however painful.

Agreed that if AK built an organization that is not delivering at the highest levels it should be done away with the same speed as the other 20,000 to 30,000 employees.
ben35bates 12/4/2012 | 8:05:45 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns Why would Roth fire Khatod when he is one of the few internal candidates with a shot at the top job? At a time of tumult and plunging morale inside the organization, dumping a long-service guy who Roth put into a prominent job (sort of Chandran-lite) just three months earlier just adds to the instability. I suspect that Khatod saw that he was probably at best the second-place or third-place horse inside NT (Frank Plastina, the former wireless wizard, seems to be the really strong candidate based on latest org chart shakeups and Greg Mumford is probably close behind). He also probably figured that the odds are better than 50-50 that the next CEO will come from outside. He is only 42, he has 19 years experience in a bunch of marketing and management jobs, he worked at a startup before NT. He probably has loads of interesting prospects. I suspect he just quit.
ARAVI 12/4/2012 | 8:05:44 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns Yeah right... I believe that as much as Chandran's resignation was to take care of an injury that occurred few years ago.

Simple truth is, Chandran brought a few of his best buddies close to him when he took over the office of COO. Khatod was one, Srikanth was another. It is only a matter of time before Srikanth is given the boot.

As to whether Khatod is capable of being the top dog in another company, I will let Metadata speak.
Metadata123 12/4/2012 | 8:05:43 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns And maybe pigs can fly!!!

If you have worked inside Nortel you know that the current crop of so-called leaders are probably the worst in the entire history of the company. Khatod is one example of the politics of patronage that the company had degenerated to in Roth's tenure. In fact they resemble the hustlers who drummed up dot.com hysteria, than any one with any understanding of the technology industry.

The problem is that shareholders and analysts are completely in the dark of the scandalous nature of what has been going on. Under normal circumstances many of these guys like Khatod would have remained junior accountants or engineers till they retire. Such folks in decision-making roles lead to the implosion of Nortel. That this could happen to a public company to the extent that it happened in Nortel is what is what makes this scandalous.

Unless and until the bureaucracy that Khatod built is dismembered and destroyed, no Nortel employee who have had the misfortune of interacting with them, would trust that Roth has either the capacity or desire to do anything to turn Nortel around.
Litewave 12/4/2012 | 8:05:42 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns Its actually worse than that. Cronyism goes right through the Nortel fabric (right down to the band 7s).

Interestingly enough, now that things are falling apart, the bad-eggs are the ones trying to stick around the longest. Unfortuantely, the management team isn't bright enough to spot the "bad eggs", and keeps hoarding the lot.

For every bright people manager who attempts to get rid of the "bad eggs", theres another clown trying to re-build his/her empire with those same "bad eggs".

This is happening everywhere at Nortel - North America, Europe, Asia, everywhere. Its really pathetic.
MarauderNow 12/4/2012 | 8:05:41 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns What are the possibilities that NT has already located Roth's successor and that Khatod decided since he wouldn't become CEO that maybe he should leave.

Personally I believe that Khatod was poorly suited for a CEO's role. Did you ever listen to this guy speak? He can't locate the proper word for anything. The speech he gave at SuperComm that was available on the NT intranet was just another example of this.
ben35bates 12/4/2012 | 8:05:41 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns If NT is run by a giant corrupt buddy system (Tammany Hall of Telecom?), then why would Roth fire Khatod at this point? When the ship is taking on water, you don't throw your 3rd or 4th lieutenant over the side. McGinn did that at LU when he was trying to save his job, but Roth has been a lame duck for some time. Even if Roth suddenly lost faith in Khatod, why dump him now?
It isn't the old regime boss who cleans house, it is the new CEO who swings the broom.

Truly corrupt organizations tend to perform badly and protect their leaders at all cost. NT sales jumped 42 per cent in 2000 and the company moved from a distant player to either the first or second world biggest telecom player (Ericsson may have had a tad higher sales). Not bad performance for a bunch of back-scratchers. Now, sales could drop that much this year and Roth & Co. are facing the music for huge expenditures on excessive production expansion and questionable startups. Roth is leaving and that looks like leaders being held accountable, even if they fall into a vast mattress of option cash.

I'm still having trouble believing that NT is run by a buddy system any more than any other organization, though I've heard the usual nasty rumors. Where do Plastina and Mumford fit into this evil empire? Of course, personal relations and chemistry are critical. When Jean Monty ran NT, he cultivated Roth as his successor. Then Roth did the same thing with Chandran. But that is the way our world works.
It looked for a while this spring Roth was starting a secondary race with Plastina and Khatod as the contenders in the event Chandran didn't come back. Then things went to hell in a hurry and the succession process fell apart.

gardner 12/4/2012 | 8:05:41 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns NT sales jumped 42 per cent in 2000 and the company moved from a distant player to either the first or second world biggest telecom player (Ericsson may have had a tad higher sales). Not bad performance for a bunch of back-scratchers.

I don't have any direct experience with Nortel management and have no inside info on how bad or good it was but I have to question your assumption that doing well in the late nineties in Telecom had any correlation with ability. The market was so "gogo" and out of control that anyone who could fog a mirror was looking good. Poor business practices and incompetent management don't show up until the good times begin to falter--then it sticks out like a sore thumb. What you are seeing all over the industry is the fruit of poorly made decisions. And in Nortel's specific case I just don't see how almost 20 billion in written down good will can be portrayed as good management. Competent managers don't pay too much for acquisitions even if "everyone else is doing it". When everything is said and done there are no excuses. Those guys get payed huge multiples of the salary of the average employee ostenibly because the work they do requires a great deal of skill and business acumen. They are payed too much to complain about how bad the market is and how little visibility they have. The rationale for paying these guys multiple millions a year is because they have to be nigh on to infallible. If you want to be able to make excuses then give back the obscene salary 'cause you ain't worth it if you have excuses instead of results. Mr well paid CEO, you are the weakest link. Goodbye. Personally I hope this whole episode makes it abundantly clear that no one is worth the obscene salaries these guys were paid--least of all the bunch of yahoos that brought telecom down by behaving like drunken sailors with the stockholder's money.
dodo 12/4/2012 | 8:05:40 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns Unfortunately "PAPAJEE" Chandran is not around to save his clique. Was promoted/appointed to CMO in April when Chandran was still holding the reins but , too bad that the empire builder had to "resign" in May .

JR Needs to clean the NOBLE HOUSE before any competent CEO accepts to take the challenge of running this corporation and bringing it out of its misery when the economy starts going up and the service providers are willing to spend.
jmd 12/4/2012 | 8:05:40 PM
re: Nortel's Marketing Chief Resigns Yes. Sack those responsible but get it the hell over with quickly. Nothing worse the dirty laundry again and again.
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