AUSWR
The Association of U S West Retirees
 

 

 

Notebaert successor picked?
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Friday, August 3, 2007

A Wall Street analyst said comments made by Qwest chief executive Dick Notebaert this week appear to indicate his successor has been picked.

"It appears the company has made a decision regarding the new CEO and will likely make an announcement within the month," UBS analyst John Hodulik wrote in a research note.

During an earnings call with analysts Wednesday, Notebaert said the board is "moving along" in finding his replacement.

"My expectation -- again, it's a personal expectation -- is that that will happen very soon," Notebaert said.  "I would remind everybody on the call that under the current (Sarbanes-Oxley rules), performance or results have to be certified by the CFO and the CEO.  It would be very difficult for someone to step in here the day before this call, where the results are published, and sign a document saying -- certifying those results."

Janco Partners analyst Donna Jaegers said Wednesday that those comments made it sound like a replacement had been chosen.

"It sounded like (the successor) was right outside the door almost," Jaegers said.

Hodulik said in his note that Qwest should appoint an industry veteran to help the company restore confidence with Wall Street.  Qwest stock has taken a hit since Notebaert announced retirement plans in June.  Several of his top executives, including ex-chief financial officer Oren Shaffer, also announced retirements this year.

"We believe the appointment of (and acceptance by) a credible telecom industry veteran could help shore up sentiment in Qwest shares, which have been under pressure since the first defections," Hodulik wrote.

Also Thursday, Morgan Stanley's Simon Flannery and CIBC World Markets' Timothy Horan upgraded their ratings on Qwest stock.  Qwest shares rose 25 cents to close at $8.65.

Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or avuong@denverpost.com.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_6530622