MCI Founder McGowan Gives Up CEO Post
William G. McGowan, who founded MCI Communications Corp. and was considered a force behind the breakup of AT&T;, stepped down as the company’s chief executive.
McGowan, 64, was replaced as chief executive by MCI’s president and chief operating officer, Bert C. Roberts Jr.
McGowan will remain as chairman of MCI, the nation’s second-largest long-distance telephone company.
McGowan had heart problems that led to a transplant in 1987, but the Washington-based company said his health played no role in his decision.
McGowan is one of the best-known personalities in American business. Business Week magazine once dubbed him “the long-distance warrior” for his role in gaining the right to launch a phone service to compete with American Telephone & Telegraph Co. in 1971.
That decision was instrumental in the federal court decree that led to AT&T;'s breakup in 1984.
Roberts, 49, has held his current positions since 1985. He has worked in a variety of management positions since joining MCI in 1972.
“It was clear that Bert (Roberts) was the heir apparent. He’s been running the company for some time,” said Charles Schelke, an analyst at Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. in New York. He and other analysts said the move was not surprising.