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Qwest Dials Up Former XM Finance Chief

The telecommunications company hires Joseph Euteneuer to head finance, the latest in a series of top-management moves.
Kate PlourdSeptember 15, 2008

Qwest Communications International hired the former finance chief of XM Satellite Radio to serve as CFO of the Denver-based telecom company.

The appointment of 53-year-old Joseph J. Euteneuer is the latest move in Qwest’s executive reshuffling, engineered by Qwest CEO Ed Mueller, who took the reins in August 2007. Euteneuer replaces John Richardson, who last April came to a “mutual decision” that it was time for a new CFO. Richardson had started as the company’s controller in 2003, and was promoted to CFO in 2007.

Euteneuer comes to Qwest after six years as CFO of XM, which completed its merger with Sirius Radio in July. When Sirius CFO David J. Frear stayed on to be CFO of newly formed Sirius XM, Euteneuer began searching for other opportunities.

Euteneuer comes to Qwest at a challenging time for many communications companies, and Qwest in particular. Qwest’s customer based in land-line telephone service, covering 14 states, is shrinking. There was a 7.3-percent decline in customers from 2006 to 2007. And from the time Mueller became CEO, Qwest’s stock has dropped from almost $9 to $3.60.

But Euteneuer acknowledges the challenges, and tells CFO.com that he wants to approach the CFO role from an operational perspective, by partnering with key operating units to help them be more profitable and efficient.

“Qwest is no different than any other company in communications space,” Enteneuer told CFO.com “You have to be constantly improving your services and you can’t sit on your hands. I’m someone who’s very proactive to drive improvements and create positive returns for shareholders.”

Before his tenure at XM, Enteneuer spent 15 years in executive positions in finance and operations at Comcast Corp., including as CFO and executive vice president of Comcast BroadNet Europe, from 2000 to 2002.

In a press release, Mueller said that Euteneuer’s track record of building businesses and building sound relationships with financial institutions made him formidable for the CFO spot.

“Joe’s deep understanding of the telecommunications, cable, and media industries, and his experience at XM — a company that transformed the radio industry — will serve Qwest well as we execute on our strategies for growth,” Mueller said.