Nortel's troubles continued unabated yesterday when angry shareholders confronted executives and the company appointed a new chairman.
The trouble followed the resignation of Nortel president and COO Gary Daichendt and its CTO Gary Kunis, earlier this month.
The new chairman is Harry Pearce - a director of the company since January and a staunch supporter of CEO Bill Owens, at least according to a statement from the company. Owens took control of the company barely a year ago when his predecessor was fired over an accounting scandal which forced the company to restate several years' financial results.
That scandal formed much of the anger at the meeting. Shareholders present criticised board members for not spotting the company's financial troubles earlier.
Retiring chairman Lynton Wilson told shareholders he regretted what had happened. However, the board could not have uncovered the accounting problems, he suggested; the board placed its trust in senior management and auditors to warn it of problems, and no warnings came, the reports said. Owens thanked Wilson for his leadership and contribution to the company.
Wilson had been chairman since November 2001. The board recently honored him with the title "chairman emeritus" in recognition of his work.
In its annual report for 2004, Nortel signaled that Wilson and four other directors would not seek re-election this year. The other retirees are James Johnston Blanchard, L. Yves Fortier, Guylaine Saucier and Sherwood Hubbard Smith Jr.
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