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Nortel Appoints New CFO, Sending Stock Higher

Pavi Binning, an executive with more than 25 years of financial experience, has been appointed chief financial officer of Nortel Networks, the company said on Monday.

North America's biggest maker of telephone gear said Binning, who has been CFO of building materials firm Hanson and telecom group Marconi in the past, will head Nortel's finances as of Nov. 12.

The appointment of Binning, who was not available for comment, is a key piece in Nortel Chief Executive Mike Zafirovski's plan to restore investor and analyst confidence in the company as it undertakes another turnaround.

Nortel has been plagued by disappointing sales and a steep decline in its stock price, while dealing with lingering legal and regulatory fallout from an accounting scandal dating back to 2003.

In May, it settled with the Ontario Securities Commission and admitted it issued misleading financial statements. It agreed to pay C$1 million toward the cost of the regulator's investigation.

Following its accounting problems, Nortel undertook several rounds of restructuring, but has been unable to return to its spot as the darling of the Canadian technology landscape before the tech bubble burst in 2001.

Investors appeared pleased with Binning's appointment, sending the Toronto-based company's shares up 42 Canadian cents to C$17.28 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock is above its year low of C$15.33 set last month, but well off February's high of C$37.35.

"With the appointment of Pavi -- a proven leader with extensive expertise in operational execution and a track record of excellence -- Nortel reaffirms its commitment to fielding a finance organization that is second to none," Zafirovski said in a statement.

David Drinkwater, who had been acting CFO, will return to his post as chief legal officer.

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