Nortel CEO, not so Admirable

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Reading Barrons every weekend is like religion for me. It is delicious, wicked and funny. And contrarian. They have a wonderful expose of sorts on the new Nortel CEO William Owens, a retired US Navy admiral. Owens had commanded America’s largest fleet of nuclear subs and was the No. 2 man on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He took over the top job after more financial improprieties were exposed at Nortel, which has been hit by one scandal after another since the telecom bubble burst. And he is not so great in terms of his board commitments. The malciously delightful article points out that with the exception of large names like British American Tobacco, and Symantec, none of his tiny companies have done well

….very small and — for investors — very disappointing companies like BioLase Technology, Cray, Metal Storm and Microvision…. But among the 10 small firms where Owens should have had the most influence, the performance has been dreary. In the last 12 months, the shares of these firms with market caps below $15 billion have lost an average of 9%…some of them in blow-ups as disgraceful as Nortel’s.

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Come on, maybe he just picks companies poorly like some people who always pick bad partners or spouses.

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