CEO & CFO, Qwest Communications
No. 7 Notebaert (CEO), Shafer (CFO) and Allan (COO): Qwest Communications
Picture it – it is 2002 and a Denver based telecommunications company is in a multibillion dollar accounting scandal and on the verge of bankruptcy. Enter Richard Notebaert, new Chairman and CEO, ready to take on the high risk challenge of saving Qwest, the telephone services provider to over a dozen western states. Notebaert, along with two other key executives Oren Shafer (CFO) and Barry Allen (COO), cut costs and increase revenues to steer the company off the path of bankruptcy. In a five year span they successfully managed to cut debt in half from the initial $26 billion and $4.15 a share in June 2002 to $10.20 before Notebaert’s retirement announcement . However, within two months of each other Notebaert, Shafer and Allen all announced their resignations. Notebaert stipulated he would stay until a replacement is found, but Shafer and Allen made no such provisions, and stock prices fell by 8 percent. The net result? A company walking on egg shells, without their top talent, facing challenges, which will make it a tough year to phone home.