Ex-Nortel executive leads rescue bidder’s management team, report says

A private equity firm looking to counter Nokia Siemens’ bid for Nortel’s wireless assets has assembled an advisory team for the offer, led by a former Nortel executive.

MaitlinPatterson Global Advisors of New York, which prepared a bid last week for the bankrupt company, has put together an advisory team comprised of telecom veterans for its bid. The team is led by Dion Joannou, former president of Nortel’s North America operations, according to FT.com.

“We have assembled a group of world-class, highly experienced industry professionals, led by Nortel veteran and former President of Nortel North America,” Dion Joannou, a MaitlinPatterson spokesperson, stated in an e-mail to Network World. Joannou is complemented by other former Nortel and carrier network senior executives. “Working with this team, we will propose an alternative that provides superior value and a better outcome for the company, its customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders,” Joannou says.

Other members of the team include Richard Burns, the former president of AT&T’s wireless network; Richard Piasentin, a former group vice president of sales at Nortel; Tony Pirih, former head of Nortel’s R&D operations; and Chris Smith, former executive vice president in charge of Alltel’s network operations, according to a report in FT.com.

MaitlinPatterson is looking to counter a $650 million offer from Nokia Siemens for Nortel’s wireless operations. Nortel is liquidating its assets and received the Nokia Siemens offer last month.

MaitlinPatterson is looking to reorganize and build an independent company around Nortel’s CDMA and LTE wireless assets at the core. Whether that includes other Nortel assets, such as other carrier, enterprise or services operations, is not clear at this point but possible.

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