Nortel Networks has shifted its senior management, moving president Bill Owens to CEO and bringing in former Cisco sales exec Gary Daichendt as president and COO.

Daichendt left Cisco four years ago to spend more time with family. He has apparently spent that time investing in commercial real estate and speaking publicly at various forums. He will report to Owens, who will continue to drive Nortel's strategic direction, from 14 March.

Daichendt has more than 30 years of experience in the global technology industry and was previously executive VP of worldwide operations at Cisco. Prior to Cisco, he worked at both Wang and IBM.

Daichendt will be responsible for leading Nortel's carrier and enterprise businesses, research and development, services and supply chain functions and global sales and operations.

Analysts viewed the appointments positively. "Gary Daichendt brings significantly more telecom experience to senior management," said UBS Warburg Analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos in a bulletin on the management changes. "He was well respected in the industry and did a good job in operations and managing the sales force at Cisco.

"As Nortel recovers from its accounting woes and the industry moves toward consolidation, we believe the company may look to replace its CEO within the year," Theodosopoulos states. "We believe Owens was brought in to lead Nortel through its restatement challenges and going forward."

Nortel has been remaking senior-level management since it fired three top executives -including CEO Frank Dunn - a year ago following an accounting scandal that led to the financial restatements. Recent appointments have included a chief marketing officer, chief strategy officer and a chief ethics and compliance officer.