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Nortel Fires CEO

Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) this morning announced that it had dismissed its president and CEO, Frank Dunn, and replaced him with William Owens (see Nortel Dismisses Dunn).

The press release says Dunn "has been terminated for cause." The cause is related to an independent review of the circumstances leading to the restatement of Nortel's financial results for 2000, 2001, and 2002, and the first two quarters of 2003.

William Owens has left his previous job as chairman and CEO of Teledesic LLC, a satellite communications company, to take on his new role at Nortel. He has been a director of Nortel since February 2002.

Nortel's former CFO, Douglas Beatty, and former controller, Michael Gollogly, have also been fired. They've been on paid leave of absence since March 15. A further four "senior line of business finance executives" have also been placed on paid leave of absence while investigations continue.

Nortel's Audit Committee has made some "preliminary partial estimates" of the impact of the restatements. Net earnings for 2003 are likely to be halved, and net losses for previous years will be reduced. There's "no material impact" on the company's cash balance at the end of 2003.

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