Last week, Notebaert conducted a flurry of press interviews and appeared on CNBC selling his offer as "a great opportunity to put two companies together."
"He's out there all the time. He's very much the public face of the company," said Mayor John W. Hickenlooper of Denver, where Qwest is based. He credits Notebaert with helping him put together a business roundtable in the city and winning an initiative to raise taxes to fund the building of a light rail.
(David Zalubowski -- AP)
If his detractors say Notebaert sometimes puts his own style before substance, Seidenberg is just as likely never to show his face. He speaks softly and allows others to carry the big stick. A spokesman for Verizon said Seidenberg hates personal profiles, and he declined to comment for this story.
When challenged, Seidenberg does not show overt anger. He tends to fall silent and instead of using the press as his bullhorn, orchestrates lobbyists on Capitol Hill, at state commissions or at the Federal Communications Commission to get things done.
One incident from 2003 illustrates that.
The regional telecom giants lost a key regulatory battle that spring, which required them to continue leasing lines at deeply discounted rates to their rivals. Verizon's southern counterpart SBC reacted by running advertisements blasting the decision.
Seidenberg, by contrast, did not issue a statement. Instead, he and his team started working to appeal the decision in the courts and ultimately prevailed.
Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.