Ok, the news is everywhere on the US government getting access to phone records, and you can draw your own conclusions on whether it is illegal or not....
I will not be offering any opinion because I don't want to get mixed up with becoming a political news site/blog; there are already too many of them out there. However, a number of friends and readers sent me links as to how Joe Nacchio while heading up Qwest Communications as their CEO turned down the government's request for the data.
There are several articles out there including:
* Qwest Ex-Chief Is Suddenly Cast as Defender of Privacy from the NYTimes
* Nacchio Confirms Rejecting Request from NSA from the WSJ
* Lawyer: Ex-Qwest Executive Ignored NSA Request from the WashingtonPost
Now, do I think that Joe Nacchio turned the government down? Absolutely. I only had a few meetings with him while I was at AT&T, so I'm not quite the expert. But what I can tell you is that when he gave corporate-wide meetings -- you know, the kind that you would fall asleep in as finance bored you with numbers -- he packed them in with standing-room-only availability. Literally, he was like having your own corporate rock star. And when he put out goals for the group, you did everything you could to hit those numbers.
Anyway, to add a little background to the CEO that many news companies are celebrating as a privacy hero, I thought it would be fun to list out some legendary stories about Joe's time at AT&T -- and if you want to add to the list, by all means drop me an email or add a comment. However, before we start a warning: THESE ARE LEGENDARY STORIES AND I CAN NOT CONFIRM THEIR ACCURACY. REMEMBER THE TELEPHONE GAME YOU PLAYED AS A KID? WELL THESE ARE PHONE GAME STORIES FROM WHAT WAS THE WORLD'S LARGEST PHONE COMPANY.
So, without further ado, the Joe Nacchio Top 10 Legendary Stories:
1. When in the midst of a large consumer lay-off Joe had bullet proof glass installed in his office and was watched over by body guards.
2. After he left AT&T, because Bob Allen didn't deem him worthy to take over for him (personally I believe that was the beginning of the end of AT&T), Mr. Nacchio leaves and starts a twice-per-week commute to Denver-based Qwest. Whenever he drives by AT&T's Basking Ridge building on his way to the Morristown airport, he flips the bird outside the window of his Porsche.
3. He once said, in reply to a manager saying his new business compensation plan was unfair, "Fair is a place you take your daughter to see the pigs"
4. In the late- to mid-80's, Joe didn't like the AT&T ads geared up for the Super Bowl, so he commandeered them and had them re-shot with himself cast in the starring role.
5. He once told managers on the business side: "If your presentations are way too fancy, then you have way too much time on your hands".
6. Speaking of presentations, he had strict rules on how to construct PowerPoint presentations. He laid out the font size and type (Ariel 16) and margin amount. He also had you draw a line at the top of the chart and dictated that whatever was above the line explained what was below the line. Coincidentally, I still construct my presentations or decks in this manner.
7. He had a brother who worked at AT&T as a career b-band. Joe never showed any nepotism.
8. Was the starring member of a famous call center located either in White Plains or Pittsburgh, where many of AT&T's best executives originated from including Dan Schulman, Jack McMaster, Gail McGovern, and Cliff Holtz.
9. Started the brain-drain at AT&T by taking numerous VPs and directors with him to Qwest
10. And, my personal favorite -- which is a little long. While I was running next to a friend of mine, Charlie K., Charlie explained how a division manager in winback named Ozzie deFaria said that if they deliver 1 million new winbacks in the next month, he would shave his hair off. We didn't realize it at the time, but the then-current CEO of AT&T Wireless, Steve Hooper, was next to us and overheard our conversation. IIt seems that Joe was bragging to Steve that we were going to step it up and winback a million customers. Steve walked over to Joe and told him what he just heard and, after showering, Joe called Ozzie and told him to get his razor ready. Mr. Nacchio then announced the bet at a consumer-wide meeting, forcing Ozzie to eventually shave his hair when the number was reached.
Well that's it for now. I don't know about you, but based on what I know, I'm 100% sure that Nacchio gave the government the bird when it came to asking for phone records.
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