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Nortel Names New Chairman

Harry Pearce was appointed non-executive chairman of Nortel at the telecom equipment maker's annual investor meeting this week.

The 62-year-old has been a Nortel director since January and also sits on the boards of Marriot International and MDU Resources Group.

Harry Pearce
Harry Pearce
Source: Nortel

Previously, he was a director at General Motors and Hughes Electronics (now DirecTV), where he was chairman from 2001 to 2004. Pearce is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Northwestern Law School.

His appointment comes as the Canadian network equipment giant is working to regain its reputation after an accounting scandal and react to a fast-changing market under pressure from new rivals from Asia.

Board members and company executives faced harsh criticism from shareholders on Wednesday for failing to detect the accounting irregularities sooner.

Investors were also concerned about the departures of two senior executives who were only on board three months before leaving over differences in management styles with CEO Bill Owens.

"I am a firm believer in Bill Owens' leadership, the passion and commitment of Nortel employees, and the ability of this company to continue as a driving force in the communications industry," Pearce said in a statement issued by the company. "I look forward to the opportunities ahead in rebuilding shareholder value and confidence."

In addition to Wilson, new nominees Jalynn Bennett, James B. Hunt Jr., John MacNaughton and Ronald Osborne were elected to the board. Pearce replaces Lynton R. (Red) Wilson who has retired after nearly six years in the position.