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Nortel Ex-Exec on Companys Problems: We Lost Track

Everyone seems to have their own theories about why Nortel Networks Corp. (NT) looks poised to dissolve into oblivion. Now a former president of Nortel’s wireless unit is sharing his perspective.

“We had lost track that our business was telecom technology, that we were in the business of getting better products to market,” BIV Daily Business News quoted Jules Meunier, now a telecom-industry consultant, as saying.

Meunier – who even served as CTO for a time – left Nortel in 2001 after 20 years. Even then, Meunier said, Nortel was on the verge of destruction.

“It was all about the numbers, it was all about the stock price, it was all about marketing and presenting the company,” he said.

Plus, by the time Meunier resigned, the brains behind Nortel – the engineers and scientists and so on – were treated so poorly that they were about to leave, or already had been fired or laid off.

“Technology people love technology first,” Meunier said, according to BIV Daily Business News. “They really want to work on things that are fascinating. Those are the guys you have to nurture.”

And that, it appears, is much of why Nortel is meeting its demise the way it is, a point that seems all the more true when now-CEO Mike Zafirvoski tells his employees he doesn’t have all the answers to the company’s problems. If enraged workers had anything to say, it probably would include the word, “You.”


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