Updated from 7:56 A.M. EST
After just a year on the job, Robert Annunziata resigned late Thursday as the chief executive of
He will be replaced by Leo Hindery, who left
in December to join the upstart telecommunications company as chairman and chief executive of its Internet services unit, GlobalCenter. He will continue in that role. Annunziata will remain on Global Crossing's board.
"Leo Hindery is the ideal executive to help Global Crossing realize its full potential," Gary Winnick, founder and chairman of Global Crossing, said in a statement.
Shares of Global Crossing, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, closed 2 1/16, or 4%, higher to 56 7/16 in Friday trading, surging 3 7/16 or 7% on speculation that
talks to acquire it.
Similar praise was heaped upon Annunziata in February 1999 when he joined, also from AT&T. At the time, Winnick said, "There is no one better qualified than Bob to build our company into the premier global telecommunications platform for the delivery of broadband services."
The move could signal that "Global Crossing is trying to focus more on Internet hosting and bandwidth than being perceived as a traditional phone company," said high-yield bond analyst Jonathan Savas of
. Merrill Lynch has helped Global Crossing underwrite both debt and preferred offerings. It has also offered advice on mergers and acquisitions.
Hindery was the head of AT&T's cable television operations before joining Global Crossing. Before that, he served as president of
, which AT&T acquired last March.
In Annunziata's year at the helm, he presided over the company's expansion into Asia, as well as takeover battles with
Qwest Communications International
, one of the nation's biggest long-distance carriers, and
, the regional Bell giant. In the end, Global Crossing took over Frontier, while Qwest landed U.S. West.
Before joining Global Crossing, Annunziata served as president of AT&T's business services group for a brief five months. He also spent 15 years as chairman and chief executive of
Teleport Communications Group
, the first and largest competitive local exchange carrier in the U.S. It was sold to AT&T for $12 billion in 1998.
Separately, Global Crossing announced a plan for creation of a tracking stock for GlobalCenter.