A Monday Morning item in the Nov. 25 Business section incorrectly reported attendance at the Northern Virginia Technology Council breakfast Nov. 21. About 480 people attended. (Published 11/26/02)

Telecom Consolidation Still Below the Horizon

Tim Donahue eschews the treadmill. "I favor, frankly, a vodka."

The chairman and chief executive of Nextel Communications Inc. is no stranger to business rigor, though.

"We felt the earth shake as the high-tech firms fell, one after the other. Like others, we made our share of mistakes," Donahue said of the tech bust in a speech to about 200 bankers, lawyers and technology executives at a Northern Virginia Technology Council breakfast on Thursday at the McLean Hilton.

Telecommunications' skid has claimed more than 30,000 jobs from local companies in the last two years. But it is neither the first nor the last industry to experience the cycle of "euphoria, overinvestment, followed by shakeouts and disillusionment," he said.

Nextel, the nation's fifth-largest wireless phone carrier, itself was forced to backtrack on some of its ill-fated investments, most notably its $2 billion stake in NII Holdings Inc., the wireless carrier's international subsidiary, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May. Some parts of NII's business -- particularly its operations in Mexico -- were doing well, "but we had to be disciplined" and file for Chapter 11 because Nextel couldn't fund the money-losing venture, he said.

"This industry must and will consolidate" among the six national carriers, he said. "Unfortunately, there are no signs that this will happen soon."

Allied Research CEO Heading to VMI

Allied Research, a Vienna-based arms manufacturer, said its chairman, president and chief executive, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, will resign in June to take over as superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute. Allied Research said Peay, a retired four-star Army general and the former head of the U.S. Central Command, will remain on the company's board as non-executive chairman after June. The company said Peay is leading the board's search for a successor.