Why is he a turkey?
First impressions may be crucial, but they can also be deceiving, and no more is the case than one of our telecom turkeys: Mr. Michael Zafirovski, former CEO of Nortel.
Based on his success in turning around Motorola's handset business and earlier a GE's lighting business, Zafirovski was heralded in 2006 as the man to turn around Nortel. However, the end result was nowhere near a turnaround. Trouble with Mike Z was evident from the start of his tenure with the company.
First, Nortel had to settle an $11.5 million lawsuit with his former employer Motorola in separation money. Arguing that he had a non-compete clause in his employment contract, Motorola attempted to prevent Zafirovski from taking the CEO post at Nortel and hiring former Motorola employees.
So instead of trying to lead the company out of trouble and reestablish--an effort that was also launched by former Nortel employees--Zafirovski decided put all of the company's pertinent assets on sale. To date, the company has sold off its CDMA/LTE assets to Ericsson, while Avaya and now Ciena are in the process of acquiring their Enterprise Telephony and Metro Ethernet Network divisions.
After many in the local Canadian and national media started calling for his head, Zafirovski finally announced he was resigning in August and closed another painful chapter of a once tall telecom giant.