December 04, 2000, 9:52 AM —
AT&T Corp., which has operated without a company president since late last year,
this week named David
Dorman to fill that job. Dorman, 46, previously was the CEO of target=NEW>Concert, a global networking joint venture between AT&T and London-based
British Telecommunications PLC.
The appointment of Dorman as AT&T's president comes just a month after the company
href="http://www.att.com/press/item/0,1354,3420,00.html" target=NEW>announced a
plan to split itself into four separate entities in an attempt to revitalize its
financial performance. Following this week's announcement, Dorman spoke with Computerworld about
challenges he faces in his new position.
Q: What are your key management challenges?
A: First of all, it will be to assess the things that need to be dealt with
immediately and changed. My initial blush is we're doing more things right than
wrong. ... It's just that things that are going well are not getting a lot of airtime.
Q: What is going well at AT&T, in your opinion?
A: Data services, for example, to business customers. AT&T has taken its growth
rate there from the low teens in the first quarter of this year to the low twenties in
the third quarter, which we believe is faster than the market is growing at this point.
So we're actually increasing our share in that very important market. In my view, the
future of business communications will be driven off of data networks, which will
encompass in large measure a lot of the voice communications today that ride on
Q: What's the most significant business challenge facing AT&T?
A: I'd say it's just overall credibility [with investors]. We've got a great set
of assets here, and we believe [our stock price is] significantly undervalued. We've
just got to systematically regain the confidence of the marketplace from a financial
perspective in order to get rewarded for what our assets represent.
Q: What changes in technology do you expect to most impact your business going