ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL) is negotiating to appoint a new chairman in the stead of Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) chief executive Jonathan Kolber, has learned.

Kolber has chaired ECI, in which Koor holds a 34.8% interest, since 1997.

One of the candidates to replace him is reportedly a top-ranking Nortel Europe executive. Nortel Europe is led by Steve Pusey, a resident of the U.K. who has been with the Canadian telecoms giant for over a decade.

"ECI's chairman is campaigning to recruit top-notch board members from Israel and abroad," commented Koor's spokesman. ECI said it does not comment on rumors.

Kolber and American tycoon Charles Bronfman acquired the controlling interest in Koor in July 1997 from the Disney family's investment arm, Shamrock Holdings.

Kolber took over the helm as chief executive of Koor, and as chairman of ECI. He was not considered a particularly active chairman, but he did push through ECI's merger with Tadiran Communications in 1999.

ECI has been in crisis for a year now, partly due to adverse market conditions and partly to faulty management of itself and its subsidiaries. The company has cut 1,400 jobs this year and seen its results plummet. A change for the better was evident in its third-quarter report, though.