CEO of US giant Qwest plans to retire

Richard Notebaert, who pulled a troubled Qwest Communications from the brink of bankruptcy amid a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal, announced plans to retire as chairman and chief executive officer, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Notebaert, 59, will leave the Denver-based telecommunications company after the board of directors selects a replacement, although no timetable has been established. He is the third top-ranking executive to announce plans to leave Qwest this year.

'The time has come for me to spend more time with family and focus on other commitments,' Notebaert said in a written statement.

Notebaert was tapped to head Qwest Communications International, the main telephone service provider in 14 mostly Western states, after ex-CEO Joe Nacchio resigned in June 2002 amid the scandal that forced the company to restate at least $2.2 billion in revenue, the report said.

The report added that in the past five years, Notebaert and his team toiled to turn the company around and drew intense national interest with a bitter bidding war for MCI that eventually was won by Verizon Communications.

Last year, Qwest posted its first operating profit since acquiring the former Baby Bell US West in 2000, the report said.

Notebaert's planned departure comes as Qwest is finding its way in the aggressively competitive field of telephone, Internet and television service, the report further said.

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