retiree still loyal
JoLynne Whiting, a 29-year veteran, says the indictment of
the former CEO is "excellent," but what happened to her
beloved company and her colleagues was "painful."
By Kimberly S. Johnson, Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
In 2002, Qwest retiree JoLynne Whiting traveled from Denver
to Dublin, Ohio, to look Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio
in the eye at the company's annual shareholder meeting.
"I would like for Phil (Anschutz) and the rest of the board
to terminate you, Joe, for cause, and I believe the case is
compelling," Whiting told Nacchio in front of a crowd of
300. "If you think of the time that you took over US West,
the stock was $50. And now it is $5."
Nacchio thanked Whiting for her comments, despite calling
some of them "incorrect". Two weeks later, he was forced
Last week, Nacchio was indicted on 42 counts of criminal
insider trading involving $100.8 million in stock sales in
2001. He has pleaded not guilty.
Seeing Nacchio's face again in the newspaper brought back
familiar feelings to Whiting.
"It's amazing to me how he seemed to be expressing the same
bravado he did when he was at the company," the Aurora
resident said. "I guess you hope that someone will realize
the damage they have caused, but that did not seem
apparent. His answers were rather flip."
Whiting worked for Qwest and its predecessors, US West and
Mountain Bell, for a total of 29 years across several
departments. She retired in 2000 as a vice president at
Qwest Dex -- the phone directory business -- in charge of
national and Internet sales.
"I lost tens of thousands of dollars, but less than six
figures. I had my 401(k) and personal stock in Qwest," said
Whiting, 56, the same age as Nacchio. "I suffered more loss
than I would have liked, but I was not affected as much as
many of my counterparts."
Whiting described the Nacchio indictment as "excellent"
because she said his actions have devastated so many people
-- including herself. Qwest stock dropped from a high of
nearly $65 in 2000 to $1.11 in 2002.
"I and many other people had dedicated our lives to making
the company a success. I worked 40, 50, 60 hours a week,"
Whiting said. "That's why it was so painful that in 18
months Joe Nacchio took the company and made it a shadow of
its former self."
Whiting now works as a marketing consultant from her home
and helps run a home health care business with her family in
She recently returned from Singapore, where she worked on a
Although her income is a fraction of what it was when she
was at Qwest, Whiting said she wasn't forced to find another
permanent, full-time job.
She also serves on the board of an investment club, which
helps novice investors.
She said her only regret is that Anschutz, Qwest's founder,
and other Qwest board members are not being held accountable
for allowing Nacchio to continue his reign at Qwest until
forcing him out in mid-2002.
"In my opinion, I believe I'm doing a good thing by speaking
out against Joe Nacchio," Whiting said. "I believe I'm
still doing my part for the company."
Staff writer Kimberly S.
Johnson can be reached at 303-820-1088 or