John D. Zeglis, retired Chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless Services, and President of AT&T prior
to the spin-off of AT&T Wireless in year 2000; also .
He is also a brother of David Zeglis of the South Shore of Lake Maxinkuckee.
John was born in Momence, Illinois and reared there. He is the son of Donald D. and Dorothy Ann Joost Zeglis He married Carol Jane Hamm who also graduated from the University of Illinois in 1969 and has three children.
He was a distinguished basketball player and golfer in high school, graduating at the top of his class.
Spending his undergraduate years at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he member of the Illio staff, committee chairman for Illini Union Student Activities; and valedictorian of his 1969 class in the College of Commerce and Business Administration, as a Bronze Tablet Scholar with a B.S. in finance. In 1972 he graduated magna cum laude graduate from Harvard Law School, with a J.D. and was a senior editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Winning the Knox Memorial Fellowship for a year of postgraduate studies in antitrust law and economics in Europe. He was also a member of such honoraries as Phi Eta Sigma, Sachem, and Omicron Delta Kappa. A member of Beta Theta Pi social fraternity, serving as house president in his senior year. Other organizations to which he belonged included Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Iota Epsilon.
Beginning his career in 1973 as an associate with Sidley & Austin, a prominent Chicago law firm whose clients included AT&T; and was made a partner of the firm in 1978. There he gained valuable experience in telecommunications legislation while working on an important Federal Communications Commission rate case.
In 1982, when AT&T acted to settle a massive antitrust suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, Zeglis was placed in charge of writing the court-ordered divestiture plan that broke AT&T into seven regional, or "baby Bell," telephone companies. AT&T being the parent company of the monopoly Bell telephone system, which made it one of the nation's largest corporations. This complex breakup plan, implemented in 1984, was regarded as an ingenuous feat that solidified his relationship with AT&T.
On January 1, 1984, he joined AT&T as corporate vice president - law and in 1986 was named executive vice president and general counsel. Becoming involved in the form ulation of AT&T's government and reg ulatory policies while the company defended itself against new long-distance competitors and reorganized its corporate structure in the face of a rapidly changing telecommunications industry. While working behind the scenes as AT&T's chief legal advisor, Zeglis gained access to the company's power center as a trusted and indispensable witness to high-level strategy sessions and board meetings.
During the mid-1990s Zeglis was given charge of orchestrating the second AT&T divestiture, the largest voluntary corporate breakup in U.S. history at that time. IRes ulting was the creation of Lucent Technologies in 1996 and NCR Corporation in 1997. Zeglis was also a key decision maker behind AT&T's $11.5 billion acquisition of McCaw Cell ular Communications Corporation in 1994, overseeing AT&T's lobbying strategy for the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and AT&T's failed bid to merge with SBC Communications in 1997
Being passed over for the appointment of CEO when Robert E. Allen resigned that post in favor of C. Michael Armstrong; he was appointed Vice Chairman June 1997 in an effort to keep him from accepting the position as CEO of Illiova. In October 1997, he was named the new president and chief operating officer of AT&T by Armstrong. He presided over AT&T's wireless, consumer, and international operations and helped manage AT&T's newly acquired cable television assets with the 1998 purchase of Tele-Communications Incorporated.
In December 1999, Zeglis was elected Chairman & CEO of the AT&T Wireless Group. Under Zeglis's guidance, AT&T Wireless upgraded its networks, improved customer service, and went public as a tracking stock in 2000, a move that raised $10.6 billion.
April 2000, AT&T Wireless debuted on the stock market, selling $10.6 billion in stock. The shares were the most active of the day and the fifth-most-traded stock in history, closing at $31.81 a share and employees were thrilled to buy stock at a designated $29.50 a share.
In June 2001 he was appointed chairman of the board in addition to his duties as chief executive. When the split-off was completed John Zeglis, Walter Elisha, Donald Fites and Ralph Larsen, left the AT&T board and immediately join the AT&T Wireless board - rounding out the board were: Nobuharu Ono, an executive at NTT DoCoMo, John Madigan, CEO of the Tribune Company, Barry Rand, a retired executive from Avis Holdings, and Carolyn Ticknor, a retired executive from Hewlett-Packard. The move from corporate AT&T headquarters in New Jersey to AT&T Wireless headquarters in Redmond, was made. In July of 2001, AT&T distributed the remaining 1.16 billion shares of stock in AT&T Wirelessto the existing AT&T shareholders and they were to receicve roughly one-third of a share of AT&T Wireless for each share of AT&T stock - making Wireless a fully independent company. Thus Zeglis became CEO of the largest independently owned and operated mobile phone companies in North America, with 22 million subscribers.
The company Zeglis inherited had a major technology problem. Its networks were based on an older technology known as "TDMA" - time-division m ultiple access - with limited capacity. The scope of its network was another problem, it covered only about 100 million people; only about half the reach of Cing ular. With the influx of new data and m ultimedia services coming down the pike, AT&T Wireless was faced with the prospect of seeing its capacity exhausted within a few years and the only solution was to proceed with a costly technology overha ul to the international standard known as "GSM" - - global system for mobile communication. Over two years, AT&T Wireless spent $5 billion annually upgrading its systems for GSM.
During this time Zeglis was talking with potential merger partners of which he also wanted to be a buyer. With the wireless industry consolidating, hoping he could expand as AT&T had expanded its cable-TV business by doing a couple of big acquisitions. But nobody was interested in selling, thus Plan B was put into place - sell AT&T Wireless. By late 2003, Zeglis had managed to rounded up a half-dozen bidders. They included Nextel, Cing ular and Vodafone.
By 2004 AT&T Wireless was the third largest U.S. mobile service provider, behind Verizon Wireless and Cing ular Wireless, but lost customers due to botched upgrades and the new federal reg ulation permitting cell ular customers to switch services without changing their phone numbers. After the decision to put AT&T Wireless on the block January 2004 shareholders picked up around US$15 a share following a fierce bidding war between Vodafone and Cing ular. After posting first-quarter losses in 2004, the company was sold to Atlanta-based Cing ular Wireless for $US41 billion ($53.56 billion) on Feb. 18 at 2:30 a.m., AT&T Wireless Chief Executive John Zeglis shook hands with top Cing ular executives. Employees will benefit from the deal: Zeglis will get $21.7 million and more than $86 million will be split among AT&T Wireless executives and directors. In May 2004 AT&T Wireless shareholders on approved the $41 billion buyout by Cing ular Wireless. The shareholders who actually voted during the annual meeting, 98 percent approved the merger but when accounting for the missing voting block, the merger proposal was approved by 65 percent of all shareholders.
With the finalization of Cing ular's acquisition of AT&T Wireless on 26 October 2004 came the dissolution of AT&T Wireless,and Zeglis indicated that he would leave the telecommunications business to pursue other interests, retiring in November, 2004, following the company's sale to Cing ular Wireless (largest cash transaction ever). The Zeglis's also sold their home in Madison, N.J., where they lived for 20 years, a few miles from AT&T's old Basking Ridge headquarters; packed up and moved to Lake Maxinkuckee at Culver , Indiana.
The Seattle Times states that a survey found that Zeglis was the 10th-highest paid CEO last year with a total compensation package of $8.4 million, not including his windfall from the merger. Also that he received $19.1 million for his stock and options and $8 million in severance five years after becoming chief executive and before the company's public offering.
After Zeglis retired and relocated, he and his son-in-law, Jeff Potter, began talking about creating a professional sports team. After settling on basketball over baseball and indoor football, Zeglis' thoughts quickly turned to the NBA Development League. John Zeglis, founding member of the Ft. Wayne Basketball Group and the primary investor of group of 11 that will bring an NBA Development League team to Fort Wayne in the fall, announced in Ft. Wayne at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum April 10, 2007 that a new D-League franchise, the 16th was awarded to Ft. Wayne, Indiana The unnamed team will play in Memorial Coliseum and has an affiliation with an NBA team, it's expected that Fort Wayne will be probably be affiliated with the Indiana Pacers and perhaps another team in the Midwest, perhaps Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland, this will be announced in May. The team will play a 50-game sched ule beginning in November 2007. The team will play several games on Thursdays, as well as some on Fridays and Saturdays. But he said the team's big game day will be Sunday. Start times still are unknown. He and son-in-law, Jeff Potter, the franchise's president and a former player at the University of Oregon a three-year starter from 1993 to '95at the University of Oregon, was named the team's president, looked long and hard before settling on Fort Wayne. Potter is also a former county prosecutor in Illinois.
John is a member of the board of trustees of the Culver Educational Foundation, Culver , Indiana; the Marshall County Community Fund; and the St. Joseph Medical Center of Plymouth, Indiana. He has served as Chairman of the board of trustees of George Washington University, Washington D.C. Other past associations include: trustee of the United Negro College Fund; a trustee of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., director of Catalyst, Inc. (for women in business); member of the University of Illinois Business Advisory Council, Kellogg Advisory Board of the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University , and the University of Washington Business School Advisory Council; member of the board of the Colonial Symphony in Madison, N.J. member of the board of the Council for Aid to Education; member of the National Commission for Higher Education; and member of the Drew University Visiting board.
John has been a guest lecturer on the campuses of: Krannert School of Management Prudue University, University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Michigan University, Yale School of Business, Harvard School of Business, Duke University, the University of Washington, Valparaiso University, and Dayton University.
John is a director of the Helmerich and Payne Corporation in T ulsa, Oklahoma since 1989; AMX Corporation, Dallas, Texas; State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Bloomington, Illinois and is Non-Executive Director of Telstra Corporation Limited, 17 May 2006. He is a former director of the Sara Lee Corporation in Chicago, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, the Illinois Power Company and Illinova Corporation in Decatur.
In May 2002 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Sources - Internet sites: Helmerich and Payne Corporation, AMX Corporation, Telstra Corporation Limited, Ft. Wayne Journal, Ft.Wanye.com, USA Today, Krannert School of Management Prudue University, Business Reference - Business Biographies, AceGuru Information Research Site, Forbes, RedOrbit.com, University of Illinois and the College of Commerce, C/netnews.com, GW Hatchet, smh.com.au/Sidney Morning Herald, callcentermagazine.com, kpcnews.com/Greater Ft. Wayne Buisness Weekly, bg.wirelessreview.com, seattlepi.nwsource/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, ebusinessforum.com/Glodal technology Forum, news.zdnet.com, atlanta.bizjournals.com /texis.seattletimes.nwsource.com/Seattle Times ... the list goes on and on -