It seems like a long time (it was, in reality, 1994) since three Nortel executives – Frank Dunn, Michael Gollogly and Doug Beatty – were charged with allegedly cooking Nortel’s books to trigger a lucrative bonus scheme.
Their fate will be decided today when a court decision comes down that could see each of them get as much as 10 years in prison, or walk away.
To be honest, a guilty verdict would be bittersweet because the more important story is how Nortel went from Canada’s flagship technology company to non-existent.
Dunn was the first CEO after the dot-com boom went bust, a surprising appointment given he was a long-time bean counter. He was followed by William Owens, an ex-U.S. Admiral who had limited telecom experience, and Michael Zafirovsky, who made a series of wrong strategic moves that eventually led the company down the path to bankruptcy protection.
Nortel ended selling its assets for billions of dollars, which are now being battled over by bondholders and other creditors.
For more, read this Toronto Star story.