An unhappy senior executive quits Nynex as merger nears Jalkut disappointed with new assignment

February 11, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK -- As Bell Atlantic and Nynex closed in on their merger, a top Nynex executive abruptly resigned yesterday. Richard Jalkut, president and chief executive of Nynex's core telecommunications unit, said he would leave once the deal was completed, probably in April.

Jalkut, a former president of New York Telephone, was to run network operations for the combined Bell Atlantic-Nynex. But he said the new assignment did not excite him, especially because he was already chief executive of the entire telephone business at Nynex, which involved both running the network and selling phone service to the public.

"To run a division of a major company, and not have the bottom-line responsibility, was not as appealing to me," Jalkut said.

As the head of Nynex's sprawling telephone network for six years, Jalkut was closely identified with the company's deteriorating customer service record.

But Nynex's chairman, Ivan Seidenberg, insisted that Jalkut's departure was not related to the service problem. "The issue of service is a total company responsibility, starting with me," Seidenberg said.

The New York State Public Service Commission slapped Nynex with $62.3 million in penalties last year for not meeting customer service standards under a seven-year agreement between the company and the state.

James G. Cullen, an aggressive vice chairman of Bell Atlantic, will be responsible for customer service after the merger, and executives familiar with the situation said he would have put stiff pressure on Jalkut to keep Nynex's 17 million telephone lines in good working order.

Jalkut is the most senior of the more than 40 high-level executives who have left Nynex and Bell Atlantic since the merger was announced. Many left because Seidenberg and Bell Atlantic's chairman, Raymond Smith, did not choose them for key jobs in the combined company.

Pub Date: 2/11/97

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