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John Roth

John Roth, was born in Alberta, Canada, in 1942. Mr. Roth was named Northern Telecom Limited chief operating officer in 1995 and was elected to the board of directors in 1996. In February, 1997, he was named president of the corporation, in addition to continuing to serve as chief operating officer. In October, 1997, Mr. Roth became president and chief executive officer of the company which soon changed its name to Nortel Networks.

FORBES MAGAZINE: 12.13.00: He (John Roth) has engineered some 16 acquisitions while putting the pedal to the metal internally to transform Nortel from a simple telecom equipment provider into a global brand name identified with the Internet. We were a slow company and we had to work very hard to become a fast one, says Roth, who began his tenure as CEO with a letter to employees in which he told them the time had come for the century-old company to get off its duff and join the new economy.

TIME EUROPE, December 25, 2000, Vol. 156 No. 26: The change (in Canadian government policies) marked the triumph of ideas forcefully argued by the most successful businessman in modern Canadian history: Nortel Networks ceo John Roth, 58. Mr. Roth warned that the country (Canada) risked becoming a second-rank economic power unless it changed its wealth-crimping tax policies and supported high-tech winners (like Nortel). Mr. Roth urged the government of Canada for better tax treatment of stock options, saying: Policies and business strategies that worked well in the industrial era are a recipe for stagnation and decline in the new economy.

From Nortel Networks Press Releases: CEO John Roth said: Stock options are a key component of a competitive rewards package in the global technology industry where competition for the best talent is always fierce, even in a market downturn. This is an extraordinary step that is essential so we may continue to attract, retain and reward our talent in a highly competitive labor market.

As Nortelís share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange began a plunge that wiped out the life savings of many investors, Mr. Roth used the roller-coaster ride to argue that Nortel's dominance reflected a failed industrial policy that sheltered enterprises from global competition. We desperately need to create a culture of winners, he declared.

With market capitalization of Nortel Networks declining from 398 billion dollars to less than five billion, and more than 60,000 people laid off by the company, Mr. Roth was one of the winners as he cashed in his stock options for a personal gain of more than One Hundred Million dollars ($100,000,000.00).

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