The Denver-based company named its former president of worldwide operations, Afshin Mohebbi, to be its new president and chief operating officer, and appointed former Executive Vice President Robin Szeliga as its new chief financial officer. Mohebbi, who joined Qwest in 1999, led the company's global broadband Internet local and long-distance networks.
Szeliga, who joined Qwest in 1998 as vice president of finance, has most recently been serving as the company's interim CFO, following the departure of Robert Woodruff. In early March, Woodruff resigned from the CFO post to spend more time with his family. Szeliga has held various executive roles in the cable industry, the company said.
The management changes come as Qwest strives to re-enter the long-distance phone market following its marriage to US West, a Baby Bell.
Qwest, which acquired US West last June, is awaiting regulatory approval to offer long-distance service in US West's 14-state region. The giant carrier must prove to federal and state officials that rivals have equal access to its phone lines. Other companies, including SBC Communications and Verizon Communications, also face similar obstacles.
Qwest said that Mohebbi was supposed to become president and COO when he joined the company, but his focus shifted once Qwest acquired US West. In his new position, Mohebbi, who came from British Telecommunications and Pacific Bell, will take over day-to-day operations at Qwest, while Chief Executive Officer Joseph Nacchio focuses on overall corporate performance and long-term strategy.
The company also said Mohebbi will continue to oversee worldwide operations for Qwest's global broadband networks, sales of network services, communications service and product management.