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Motorola Releases Executive For Nortel Post

In exchange for a payment of $11.5 million, Motorola frees former president Mike Zafirovski to take the helm at Nortel, which has been recovering from a series of accounting scandals.

W. David Gardner

November 1, 2005

1 Min Read

When Ed Zander became CEO and Chairman of Motorola in December of 2003, he promised that he and president Mike Zafirovski would "sit in the hot tub together" and work out management differences.

It didn't work out and now the two men are communicating via their lawyers as Zafirovski has Motorola's permission to run Nortel Networks after the two firms agreed to settle the lawsuit that had threatened to block Zafirovski from taking over the Nortel post.

In a statement Monday, Motorola noted that "Zafirovski's move to Nortel threatened an unlawful misappropriation of Motorola trade secrets and a breach of multiple non-compete, confidentiality, and no solicitation agreements…"

The settlement enables Zafirovski to become president and chief executive officer of Nortel, which has been recovering from a series of accounting scandals. Motorola said the settlement requires a payment to Motorola of $11.5 million in cash. Earlier, in a lawsuit, Motorola maintained that Zafirovski had violated an employment contract with Motorola.

There are other restrictions placed on Zafirovski including a pledge to avoid hiring Motorola employees.

Both men have enjoyed management success. Zander was formerly COO and president of Sun Microsystems while Zafirovski was instrumental in starting the successful turnaround at Motorola.

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