Avaya Chairman and CEO Elected Chairman of WPI's Board of Trustees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/July 26, 2005
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609
WORCESTER, Mass. -- July 26, 2005 -- Donald K. Peterson, chairman and CEO of Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV), a global leader in business communications applications, systems and services, has been elected the 20th chairman of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees. He succeeds F. William Marshall, who had served as chairman since 2003.
Peterson will lead WPI's 35-member Board of Trustees in its role as the owner and overseer of the university. He brings a strong business, management, and financial background to the post, chiefly in the telecommunications industry.
Peterson became president and CEO of Avaya when it was spun off from Lucent Technologies in 2000 and was later named chairman. In 2002, he was recognized as "CEO of the Year" by Frost & Sullivan, a strategic marketing consulting and training firm. The award lauded Peterson for leading Avaya through an outstanding year while the telecommunications industry as a whole contracted sharply. Since guiding Avaya through its launch as a fully independent company, Peterson has restructured the firm for fiscal stability, invested in key growth areas, and led a successful effort to extend market leadership in Internet Protocol telephony by building a new global brand.
"Don Peterson's impressive career of achievement and entrepreneurial leadership, in roles of global reach and profound importance to the communications industry, makes him extremely well suited both to lead this distinguished university and to provide a standard against which our students can model their own career aspirations," says WPI President Dennis D. Berkey. "A loyal alumnus and active member of the Board of Trustees, Don understands well the uniqueness and value of our project-enriched approach to education centered on engineering and science, the importance of our research programs, and WPI's role in regional economic development. We are honored and most fortunate to have him as our new chairman."
Peterson began his career in telecommunications with Nortel Networks and advanced through a number of key financial, sales, and general management positions in the United States and Canada, serving as CFO until his appointment as president of Nortel Communications Systems, Inc. Later, he served as CFO of AT&T's Communications Services Group until AT&T divested Lucent and he became its CFO.
A native of Worcester, Peterson earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from WPI and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum, a member of the board of overseers of the Amos Tuck School of Business and the board of trustees of Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of America (TIAA), and a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development.