April 23 2010, 10:39 AM
CenturyTel Incorporated will take over Denver's Qwest Communications International Incorporated, creating the nation's third-largest provider of local phone and Internet service, and moving the company's headquarters to Louisiana. The concern at home for Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet has been the possibility that jobs might be lost in Colorado, Westword points out. Those fears are apparently well founded. "Scores" of high-paying executive jobs will disappear, according to the Denver Business Journal. If Century's deal to buy 50.1 percent of Qwest closes in mid-2011, it doesn't appear the upper tiers of Qwest management will be needed: CenturyTel is looking to reap efficiencies from combining operations, says Don Marostica (pictured), director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade and former state House representative from Loveland. "I would think all of them today are probably looking for jobs," he adds. CenturyTel will take over a company with a "checkered history," writes The Associated Press, including the dealings of former CEO Joseph Nacchio, who is currently in prison. 9News provides a timeline of the company, noting the Denver headquarters opened as a fiber-optic network and long-distance phone provider in 1995. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, wonders about CenturyTel's motives: While the company may be able to "cut costs and to sell more lucrative services, such as television and long-distance data transport, it also expands the company's footprint in the shrinking land-line business, which has been in an inexorable decline since the rise of the cellphone."