Marconi appoints Nortel chief to head global PA

Technology firm Marconi has poached Elizabeth Kanter from rival Nortel Networks to head its global public affairs operation.

Kanter joins on 16 February as head of government affairs, reporting to director of comms David Beck. She replaces Claire Thwaites, who joined Vodafone UK as its senior government relations manager last month.

Kanter will act as a co-ordinator for Marconi’s global PA work, with an emphasis on the UK, the EU institutions, Germany and Italy.

A Marconi spokesman said Kanter’s key tasks would include adding the firm’s voice to the debate surrounding broadband among UK politicians and addressing the negative image of the firm’s finances. The firm has axed thousands

of jobs in recent years after running up massive debts through an acquisition spree during the telecoms boom.

To combat the debt the firm has since restructured, shedding parts of the business to concentrate more on telecoms equipment and services. In May last year it also began trading under a new name of Marconi Corporation, instead of Marconi Plc.

The spokesman said: ‘We’ve reached the end of the redundancies. We are rebuilding the business and looking to grow the firm’s reputation among government.’

Last week the firm announced a sales increase of five per cent over the last quarter of 2003 with sales

of £408m, compared with £389m the previous quarter.

Nortel Networks has confirmed that it will shortly

be launching a search to replace Kanter.

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