Nortel Networks

(NT)

, the No. 2 maker of telecom products in the U.S., said Tuesday its chief technology officer Bill Hawe resigned on Feb. 12.

Shares of the company lately scraped a new 52-week low, tumbling intra-day to $18.71. They were recently trading down $1.07 to $18.93 on the

New York Stock Exchange

.

The beleaguered company, which is facing a string of class action suits after shocking investors with an

earnings warning last week, did not provide further details. Company representatives could not be immediately reached for comment. However,

Reuters

reported Tuesday that Hawe has been replaced by Jules Meunier, who has 22 years of experience with Nortel and was most recently president of the company's core network division.

Separately, litigation firm

Kirby McInerney Squire

announced Tuesday it was representing a group of Nortel shareholders who are alleging the company "made repeated, affirmative and misleading statements -- in the face of decreased capital expenditures in the telecommunications industry - regarding the level of demand for Nortel's products and Nortel's growth in revenues, earnings and market share." The firm also alleged that Nortel issued "misleading" statements and "and acted to inflate artificially the trading price of Nortel securities." The company had no comment on the lawsuit.

Nortel said Tuesday that Hawe has exercised about 602,000 options and sold the related shares. Nortel, whose troubles have

dimmed the light for other fiber optic companies, said that it is not unusual for executives to exercise options once they choose to leave the company.