Mike Zafirovski’s first public presentation as Nortel’s CEO was impressive. At the RBC conference in Whistler, he came across as straightforward, frank and focused on doing all the grunt-like “blocking and tackling” needed to build a foundation for the company to move forward. Unlike Bill Owens who was short on details, Mike Z. provided investors with lots of food for thought by touching upon a number of key issues. Among them is the assertion that unless Nortel can have 20% in a specific market, they will either invest to get there or exit the business. Currently, he said Nortel has only 20% market share in five of the 22 markets in which it competes. Perhaps the line of the presentation was when RBC analyst Mark Sue asked when he should upgrade Nortel shares. Without missing a beat, Mike Z. replied “I think you are being delinquent to be honest with you”, which drew loud laughter from the audience.
He Came, He Conquered