MCI president, Akerson, quits for new posts

August 12, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Daniel F. Akerson, MCI Communications' president and chief operating officer, abruptly quit yesterday to become chief executive of General Instrument Corp. and a general partner at the investment banking firm Forstmann Little & Co., a major stakeholder in General Instrument.

The move surprised executives at MCI, the nation's second-largest long-distance company, where Mr. Akerson's tenure has been extremely successful. Bert C. Roberts, MCI's chairman and chief executive, will assume Mr. Akerson's duties for the time being.

A blunt-spoken, aggressive competitor, Mr. Akerson will be leaving for a company whose $1.1 billion in sales is one-tenth the size of MCI's annual revenue. But the move holds double allure.

For one thing, General Instrument, a leading provider of equipment in the cable-television industry, has emerged as a central player in high-definition television and in the still-infant market for hundreds of channels of home television.

For another, Mr. Akerson's relationship with Forstmann Little will let him act as a deal-maker and an equity investor on a broader stage.Forstmann Little, which owns 50 percent of General Instrument, is a small but substantial player in the leveraged-buyout business and has about $2 billion in capital available for acquisitions.

"I looked at the opportunity, and I said to myself that this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity," Mr. Akerson said yesterday. "It's intellectually stimulating and it's challenging from a business perspective."

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