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Name and title: Leonard Kennedy, senior vice president and general counsel Age: 52 The company: Fortune 200 firm Nextel Communications Inc. is a major provider of integrated wireless services, notable for having constructed the nation’s largest all-digital wireless network. Headquartered in Reston, Va., it has 17,000 employees and reported 2003 domestic revenues of $10.8 billion. It is the fifth-largest carrier based on the number of subscribers, and due to its high percentage of business customers (90%), Nextel also boasts the industry’s highest average revenue per subscriber and the lowest monthly customer loss. Founded in 1987 as Fleet Call, the fast-growing telecommunications giant has almost doubled in size since Kennedy came aboard in 2001. Ninety-five percent of Fortune 500 companies are Nextel clients. Consensus v. balance: A matter on the front burner for Kennedy and Nextel is now awaiting a vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In deciding the issue, the FCC will have to choose between public safety concerns and the value of bandwidth. Nextel’s national service is placed within a spectrum range that is in close proximity to the spectra used by public safety agencies. There is resulting interference, a situation potentially harmful to the public and dangerous to entities like the police and firefighters. The quality of Nextel’s transmission is also affected. To combat this usage overlap, Nextel introduced its “Consensus Plan,” with the approval of public safety agencies, in which it pointed out problem areas to the FCC. It sought commission approval to re-band in order to eliminate the interference and petitioned for additional spectrum, for which it offered to pay $850 million. In response, Verizon and other Nextel competitors demanded a competitive bidding process and public auction for the coveted space, airing their views in their “Balanced Approach Plan.” Verizon also has made a $5 billion counteroffer for use of the airwaves. Nextel, on the other hand, claims that no auction is necessary and that the FCC has the right simply to modify existing licenses. It also emphasizes that this is a public safety issue. An FCC ruling is expected shortly. Its five commissioners could either support Nextel, back Verizon or approve Nextel’s plan, but tack on additional fees of as much as $1.5 billion. Keeping up to speed: “Helping the company in the area of our legal function to transition from an early-stage start-up company to building and completing the platform that you need as a Fortune 200 company, and doing it without any degradation in service,” is a career highlight for Nextel’s GC. Employed by a fast-growing company in a rapidly evolving field, he speaks of his job in terms of balancing the “known” with the challenges of the “unknown.” To help prepare for the unknown, Kennedy encourages his lawyers to be immersed in the industry and stay up-to-date with the latest developments, citing voice-on-Internet technology as an example. He assigns each lawyer 20 hours of training on legal and technical concerns, and senior members of his department are encouraged to act as panelists or moderators at bar functions or industry conventions. He currently is writing an article detailing the latest issues affecting wireless carriers. Security and governance: The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the reforms prompted by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are focus areas of most GCs, and Kennedy is no exception. He pays attention to the continuity of business should an emergency arise, emphasizing redundancy and backup. To keep communication lines open in the event of calamity, all Nextel workers now have key employee numbers preprogrammed in their phones. Engineering teams have been tasked with addressing response times in re-establishing Nextel’s network, should it fail. Kennedy’s predecessor was a securities lawyer, and the legal and accounting departments worked in tandem prior to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. “I inherited some great processes and procedures. We always had very robust disclosure and very robust internal procedures . . . .Sarbanes-Oxley just confirmed we were on the right path.” Legal team: Nextel’s in-house legal staff consists of 83 attorneys. Specialties are carved out within the group, including commercial law, human resources/labor/employment, securities and finance, litigation, field operations and real estate, intellectual property and a regulatory section. Kennedy said he’s “probably the only real generalist” on an increasingly compartmentalized legal team. His duties include securities-related work, participation in the development of firm strategy, settling litigation matters and contractual dealings with vendors and suppliers. He encourages close relationships with Nextel partners and is particularly proud of his work in establishing a new partnership deal with stock car racing governing body NASCAR. The general counsel also deals with government affairs issues, although 95% of the related lobbying is left up to others. Kennedy reports to Nextel CEO and President Tim Donohue. The bulk of Nextel’s legal activity occurs in-house, but particularly for special projects and intellectual property litigation, Kennedy seeks the assistance of outside counsel. He uses lawyers from Washington’s Williams & Connolly and Crowell & Moring, as well as the D.C. and home offices of San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster. Route to the top: Kennedy has been Nextel’s GC and senior vice president since his 2001 arrival. He was previously at Washington’s Dow, Lohnes & Albertson, where, as a partner during two stints (1989-90, 1991-2001), he advised clients on telecommunications law, regulation and policy. From 1980 to 1988, he served with the FCC, first as a staffer, then as a senior legal advisor involved in issues such as access charges, price caps and tariffs. His multifaceted career also includes a three-year term as assistant general counsel for the Children’s Television Workshop, and a 1977-78 association with Venable, Batjer & Howard (now Venable). Kennedy, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is an alumnus of Cornell University (1974), with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and Cornell Law School (1977). Personal: Kennedy and his wife, Ellen Mears Kennedy, have two daughters: Julia Anne, 12, and Emma McMath, 10. He performs tai-chi in his spare time and is an enthusiastic reader. Last book and movie: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Intermission.

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