Mandl’s (No) Messiah

Plus, Colin Reed cashes in his chips at Harrah's Entertainment; Jeffrey Boyer joins the leagues of Kmart shoppers; Michael Irwin's slick moves; and more.


Alex Mandl knows what it’s like to be a king and a commoner– unfortunately, in that order. On April 30, the onetime heir-apparent to Robert Allen’s corner office at AT&T Corp. resigned his position as CEO of financially troubled telecom-provider Teligent Inc. just as Newark, N.J.-based IDT Corp. acquired the 33.7 percent stake of the company owned by Liberty Media Corp. IDT installed its own CEO, Yoav Krill, managing director of its European division.

In 1996, Mandl, then an AT&T president, stunned the business world by defecting to start-up Associated Communications LLC, later renamed Teligent Inc. “At the time, it was a shot heard around the world,” says J.P. Morgan H&Q analyst David Glaymon. “Seasoned execs of large telecom companies saw the opportunity provided by the Telecom Act of 1996, and were willing to move from market-share givers to market-share takers.”

In the end, Teligent couldn’t take enough market share to satisfy investors, explains Glaymon, who says Mandl’s resignation was no surprise. “The sentiment among the different pools of capital was that only a finite number of companies were going to be supported, and the markets were closed to smaller companies,” he says. Teligent struggled to find new funding while its stock price plunged from a high of $97 in March 2000 to 62 cents this May, forcing the company to petition Nasdaq not to delist it.

Teligent spokeswoman Tina Thompson says Mandl’s departure was by “mutual agreement” between Mandl and IDT. She confirmed Teligent forgave a $15 million loan Mandl received when he joined the company.


Colin Reed is cashing in his chips at Las Vegas­based Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. Reed has resigned the CFO position at the casino operator, and will join Gaylord Entertainment Co., which owns the Grand Ole Opry. Harrah’s has appointed treasurer Charles Atwood to serve as CFO.

Former EVP and CFO Larry Kellner, 42, has secured a first- class seat in the corporate office of Continental Airlines Inc. Kellner is replacing Greg Brenneman as president of the Newark, N.J.-based airline. Brenneman announced his resignation in early May.

Jeffrey Boyer is joining the leagues of Kmart shoppers. Boyer, formerly SVP and CFO of Sears, Roebuck & Co., is assuming the EVP and CFO roles at Kmart Corp., headquartered in Troy, Mich. He replaces Martin Welch, who is retiring from the clothing retailer.


Intimate Brands Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, let it slip that Tracey Thomas Travis is the new CFO of Victoria’s Secret lingerie stores’ parent. Travis had served as finance chief of Rexam Beverage Can Americas. She replaces Michael Newman, who left last year.

Joe McCabe is wired to the corporate office of Redmond, Wash.- based AT&T Wireless. McCabe, who was recently named EVP and finance chief, has been acting CFO at the wireless arm of AT&T Corp. for the past year.


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