Nortel-Aggressive Measures to Weather The Storm

This was effectively the headline that greeted me in the local paper.

The sun rose this morning and the sky hasn't fallen.

So time to ponder yesterday's announcements.

Much of the press focused on the $3.4B loss announced. I'm no accountant but I'm told that these charges have no bearing on our current cash position ($2.3B in cash).

Personally, the announcement of 1300 layoffs hit me closer to home. It's very sad when the friends and co-workers find themselves out of a job, after working so hard for something they believed in. But hopefully those in Ottawa will find a job quickly. Consider that in 1997, there were 900 knowledge based companies employing 50,000 workers, while today there are over 1800 companies employing 80,000 workers. And Ottawa is not unique. Good luck and thanks for your contribution to Nortel- the press may not know it but I know our customers do.

The next element of the announcement was the departure of a number of senior executives, among them John Roese, our highly outspoken CTO. I had a lot of time for John. His blog shoes will be filled by Phil Edholm, the Enterprise Corporate Strategy Officer. Phil is no less opinionated and already has his only blog.

John's year-end departure marks an aggressive shift highlighted in today's headline that moves head quarter roles such as the CTO/CMO into 3 lines of business, one of which is enterprise. For me, this establishes the strongest enterprise focus I have ever seen in Nortel (and I've seen a lot over my 36 years here), with sales, marketing, R&D, operations and services under one president, Joel Hackney. This along with great people, strong technology, and discerning customers aligns our stars--- we now have to deliver.

Let me end by highlighting a recent win. HSBC, about as technology and business savvy a customer you can find, chose a Nortel UC solution based on the Nortel Agile Communication Environment. This is a great endorsement of our strategy of becoming a software and services company, or as Joel says "a Communications Integrator".

The sun may have come up, but Nortel, our customers and the industry at large have a storm to weather. I think Nortel is better prepared than it was even a few weeks ago to come out stronger in the end.

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