DENVER: Joan Walker is leaving her EVP of corporate communications position at Qwest Communications, the second high-level PR departure at the $13.8 billion company in as many weeks.
Corporate communications VP Tyler Gronbach recently left to take a similar post with R.H Donnelley, the Yellow Pages and local online search company.
Walker was not available for comment, but according to an internal e-mail sent by Qwest CEO and chairman Richard Notebaert, she is leaving the company on Wednesday. The e-mail also notes that Walker, who has been with Qwest for three-and-a-half years, is returning to Chicago to "accommodate the needs of her family."
Qwest is looking for Walker's replacement. Gronbach has already been replaced by Robert Charlton, most recently global VP of public affairs for Dow Chemical.
Earlier this year, Qwest was involved in a heated public battle with Verizon to acquire MCI, which ultimately accepted the offer from Verizon. Verizon's acquisition of MCI is in its final stages of approval.
Qwest faces an increasingly competitive market, where mergers are creating even larger competitors. The US Department of Justice recently gave its approval for Verizon to acquire MCI and for SBC Communications to purchase AT&T. Both of those acquisitions are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Before joining Qwest, Walker was SVP of global public affairs at Pharmacia. She has also worked for Monsanto, Ameritech, Bozell Sawyer Miller Group, Bozell Worldwide Public Relations, and NYNEX.