Some investors are betting that Motorola ( MOT) operating chief Mike Zafirovski's next stop will be north of the border. A year after he was passed over for the top job at Motorola, Zafirovski said Wednesday he would leave the cell-phone giant this month. Though the executive didn't offer any clue to his next step, some observers see a natural fit at troubled Nortel ( NT). No matter where he ends up, the Macedonia native shouldn't have too much trouble finding his next big job, industry analysts say. In addition to the battle stripes he earned at Motorola, Zafirovski logged 24 years at executive talent mill General Electric ( GE). Still, it's no surprise that Nortel would come to many minds as a possible destination for Zafirovski. The Brampton, Ontario, telecom-equipment maker is struggling to put a yearlong accounting scandal behind it. The company on Tuesday rolled out plans to replace five board members to help "turn the page" on this troubled chapter in its history. "The guy would be high on the list" if Nortel were looking for a new CEO, says one analyst based in Canada. A Nortel representative declined to comment, while Motorola said simply that Zafirovski plans to "pursue a CEO position outside Motorola." Heightening the speculation is the fact that Nortel CEO Bill Owens' popularity started to wane shortly after he was given the job of restoring credibility to the company last year. To be sure, Owens was thrust into a chaotic situation that included two sets of auditors and three different agency investigations. He had no role in the bookkeeping blunders but became the point man as the situation continued to intensify. Still, a widening accounting morass combined with numerous filing delays, broken promises and a brush with delisting fueled criticism over the effectiveness of Nortel's new leader. Owens' critics add that his lack of telecom-equipment experience and limited public company leadership experience make him an unlikely long-term CEO for Nortel.