Qwest CEO: US West Deal Means Layoffs

FRAMINGHAM (07/07/2000) - Joseph Nacchio, chairman and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications International Inc., this week said the Denver-based telecommunications and broadband Internet services vendor will lay off workers and close some offices in the wake of last Friday's completion of its US$43.5 billion acquisition of US West Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

But during a press conference on Wednesday, Nacchio didn't offer any specifics about how many of the combined company's 71,000 employees will be let go in order to eliminate redundancies created by the merger.

In addition to the prospect of layoffs, Nacchio noted that Qwest executives will have to help workers at US West make the move from a regulated telecommunications business to a more freewheeling business environment on the broadband side.

"They have to deal with the issue that this is a different world," Nacchio said. "What I've got to do is make them understand that they have nothing to fear. Just because the structure around you changes doesn't mean your whole life is changing." He added that the company is "not going to change and fix everything overnight."

Nacchio also listed some of the top priorities that the new Qwest -- which has annual revenues of about $18.5 billion -- will work toward over the course of the next 12 months. Included are the expansion of its broadband Internet and DSL (digital subscriber line) businesses as well as improved wireless communications services, he said.

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