& cplSiteName &

Super Mike

Phil Harvey
6/4/2008

12:40 PM -- At Global Connect 2008, Nortel Networks Ltd. CEO Mike Zafirovski took the stage to greet the company's enterprise customers, and the message was familiar: We've come a long way in our recovery, but we're not done yet.

"Our earnings are not where we want to have them, but our trajectory is better than anyone else in the industry," Zafirovski said.

Zafirovski didn't introduce any new material here, but his relaxed tone and presence spoke volumes. He was at ease with his message and exuding the kind of confidence we've not seen from a Nortel CEO in years -- at least not one that we could trust.

Nortel's Boss He spent the first part of his keynote address looking back to a little more than two years ago when he first took the helm at Nortel. The mess he inherited prompted enterprise customers at the time to ask: "When will Nortel recapture its technology edge?"

That edge, Zafirovski says, will come from Nortel's work in infrastructure and its investments in developing software and applications for the networks it has helped build. He reaffirmed Nortel's commitment to Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) and 40- and 100-Gigabit optical networks. He also reminded the audience of Comcast's 100-gig trial, announced earlier this year.

Two years ago, folks were questioning whether Nortel even belonged in the enterprise networking business. Now, Zafirovski says it's an obvious market for the company to stay in. "The needs of a large, sophisticated enterprise are not very different than the needs of a CIO or CTO of a carrier," he says.

The health of Nortel, overall, has improved, and, though the crowd assembled Tuesday morning barely filled the front part of the hotel ballroom, the attendees were optimisitic.

But Mike Z.'s job is still a tough gig. "We believe CEO Mike Zafirovski is one of the true industry leaders in the communications equipment space," wrote Argus Research Co. analyst Jim Kelleher in a note to clients last month. That said, Kelleher added, the challenges facing the Canadian company would be daunting for Superman in the current environment.

Nortel may never again be a Wall Street darling, but it's harder and harder to bet against the company these days. Still, I can confirm that even though Zafirovski, relaxed as ever, took off his suit jacket down during his talk and laid it on the chair behind him, he did not, in fact, replace the jacket with a red cape.

Maybe he only wears it on the weekends.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from The Philter
Our series on the state of the SD-WAN market continues with a discussion on what's holding back some companies in the space and how standards and new technologies are advancing the cause of SD-WAN.
Jio's competitive market, fast growth and expanding customer base present some interesting machine learning and analytics challenges for Guavus, its newly announced analytics partner.
It's going to take some televisionary moves for pay-TV providers and big studio owners like AT&T to sort out what consumers want, how to package it and what to call it.
Machine learning is primed to help service providers run more efficient and effective networks, but first the good ideas have to make their way from the lab to the real world – and that's a big challenge, according to the University of Chicago's Nick Feamster.
Light Reading's editors discuss Dish Network, its pioneering past, a few hilarious missteps and why the company seems just as likely as anyone to be the next big player in 5G networks.
Featured Video
Upcoming Live Events
October 1-2, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
October 10, 2019, New York, New York
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
November 14, 2019, Maritim Hotel, Berlin
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
Why Are Governments Around the World Subsidizing 5G?
By Paul Zhou, FromGeek.com, for Huawei
Edge Computing, the Next Great IT Revolution
By Rajesh Gadiyar, Vice President & CTO, Network & Custom Logic Group, Intel Corp
Innovations in Home Media Terminals for the Upcoming 5G Era
By Tang Wei, Vice President, ZTE Corporation
All Partner Perspectives