Anschutz out, Notebaert holds sway at Qwest
The telecom chairman has two slots to fill on a board mostly
of his choosing. Wall Street approves.
By Beth Potter, Staff Writer
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Three years after taking over at Qwest, chairman and chief
executive Richard Notebaert now can solidify his control of
the telephone company's board of directors and further
remake the company in his vision.
Company founder and director Philip Anschutz said Tuesday he
would not stand for re-election at Qwest's annual meeting
this spring. Cannon Harvey, a top Anschutz lieutenant, also
will not renew as a director, leaving two vacancies on the
On Wednesday, the stock was up 10 cents to $6.42.
"That's clear evidence the investors approve of this change
in direction," said Lynn Stout, a professor of corporate law
and corporate governance at the UCLA law school. "It's
clear that Anschutz is going to take a less active role in
No decision has been made as to who might be tapped to fill
the vacant spots, said Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs.
But Notebaert will greatly influence that decision. He has
already brought in seven outside directors, in addition to
the seat he occupies.
Notebaert also has an opportunity to build a new nominating
and governance committee. Its previous members --
Anschutz, Harvey and Tom Donohue, chief executive of the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who left Qwest's board in 2005 --
are now gone.
Corporate-governance experts in recent years have given
Qwest low marks for insider deals and for board members who
stayed on after an accounting scandal that forced the
company to restate more than $2.5 million in revenue.
Notebaert was brought aboard in the summer of 2002 to
replace CEO Joe Nacchio, who was forced to resign in the
wake of Qwest's difficulties.
Since then, Notebaert has boosted Qwest's stock price from
as low as $1.11 a share. Notebaert was traveling and
unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Toevs said the company's strategy will continue to focus on
"We have a very talented group of directors with diverse
experience and diverse backgrounds who approach their jobs
with a great deal of stewardship and professionalism," he
Only three Qwest board members remain from Nacchio's days:
Denver construction magnate Linda Alvarado; Peter Hellman,
chief financial officer of Nordson Corp., an industrial
manufacturing company; and Frank Popoff, former chairman of
Dow Chemical Co.
Notebaert has recruited board members, including several
CEOs of locally based public companies. They include K.
Dane Brooksher, chairman and CEO of ProLogis; Wayne Murdy,
chairman and CEO of Newmont Mining; and Patrick Martin,
former chairman and CEO of Storage Technology Corp.
Caroline "Caz" Matthews, president of Blue Cross and Blue
Shield of Georgia, and R. David Hoover, CEO and president of
Broomfield-based Ball Corp., joined the board in December.
Notebaert has reduced Qwest's debt from $26 billion to about
$15 billion and has cut operational expenses in his
turn-around effort at Qwest. He says Qwest is poised to be
profitable sometime in 2006.
Staff writer Beth Potter
can be reached at 303-820-1503 or