Post-AGM “Deep Thoughts”

Nortel’s AGM in a nutshell: Mike Zafirovski was solid and came across as straightshooter intent on fixing Nortel before it makes a big move such as a merger or sale. Without a doubt, he’s a professional executive who is confident in his own abilities to manage and deliver “the message” to his constituents: employees, investors, analysts, etc. It’s difficult to tell what may be going on behind the scenes strategically but Mike Z. appears resolute in his focus on getting Nortel back on the right track. Truth be told, there’s plenty of runway for him and his revamped management team to look good by simply operating the company in a professional, focused manner. You have to believe Nortel’s financial results will show solid and quick improvements by making some simple, straightforward changes such as streamlining distribution and logistics, focusing on R&D in areas with strong sales potential rather than spreading dollars across the board, and selling unprofitable units such as the UMTS radio business.  As for shareholders, the turn-out was disappointing – 200 to 300 people at most, although the suburban location of the AGM may have had something to do with it. There was the expected laments about the stock’s lower value and calls for Nortel to adopt a human right policy (the company’s activities in Tibet continue to haunt it) but, all in all, it was a relatively pain-free day for Nortel.

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