The controversial chairman of the “local” telephone company in Iowa and 13 other states has resigned as the firm tries to stave off bankruptcy. Denver-based Qwest bought “Baby Bell” U-S West a couple of years ago, but a sinking stock price, skyrocketing debts and a federal investigation of its accounting practices spelled the end of Joseph Nacchio’s tenure. Qwest is the nation’s fourth-largest local telephone company, serving 14 states from Minnesota to Washington. With 26-million dollars in debt, Qwest’s credit rating has recently been downgraded to “junk bond” status, and its stock has gone from a high of over 60 dollars down to four-bucks a share. Qwest will now be led by Richard Notebaert, who is the former chairman of Ameritech.
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