New PRTC President and Chief Executive Officer Jon Slater unveils his vision for the future of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company; names seven key executives to help lead the transition.

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IRVING, Texas -Jon Slater, new president and chief executive officer of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC), today unveiled his vision for the company's future, and named seven key executives to help lead the transition.

GTE Corp. announced yesterday that a GTE-led consortium, which includes Popular Inc. of Puerto Rico, completed the purchase of a 50 percent-plus-one-share stake in the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.

"This is a momentous occasion for everyone involved in this transaction and an incredible milestone for both PRTC and GTE," Slater said. "My team and I are looking forward to creating a new beginning for PRTC - one that is customer-driven, market-oriented, high-tech and that will put PRTC in the forefront of the telecommunications industry for the 21st century."

In calling for a new beginning for PRTC, Slater emphasized his intention to build upon PRTC's existing employee base to create a team that is unmatched in the industry.

"We have a strong, unified workforce - one that now has a very personal stake in this company through its ownership of stock," Slater said. "PRTC's accomplishments will be a direct reflection of the responsibility and pride of ownership from each and every employee."

Slater said he and his team plan to begin to immediately address customer service and product quality issues, such as the time it takes to install and repair lines and how long a customer has to wait to speak to a service representative. He also reiterated PRTC's commitment to investing $1 billion in the telecommunications infrastructure over the next five years, as well as his intention to enhance PRTC's involvement in the culture and heritage of the Puerto Rico community.

"This is an exciting and challenging time," Slater said. "We have many opportunities before us, and we intend to seize them with the understanding that change takes time, and we must be realistic in our expectations. We have one goal in mind, and that is to make PRTC the best in the industry, which, in turn, will make Puerto Rico a premier location for both businesses and individuals. We're ready to get started."

Slater Names New Executive Team

In his first official act as president, Slater named seven members of his executive team, which includes both PRTC and GTE employees. From PRTC: Jorge Menendez, chief financial officer; Jose Arroyo, vice president of Legal and Regulatory; Joaquin Rivera, vice president of Network Engineering and Technical Planning; and Carmen Carro, vice president of Customer Care and Sales. From GTE: Georgia Scaife, vice president of Human Resources; Carla Ussery, vice president/general manager of Wireless; and Mark Johnson, director of Business Alignment. Slater said the remaining members of his team will be named within 30 days.

"This group of dedicated professionals represents the best that PRTC and GTE have to offer," Slater said. "Their collective knowledge, operational expertise, telecommunications experience, interpersonal skills and leadership abilities will serve us well as we confront the challenges that lie ahead."

Slater acknowledged the individuals and institutions that have been involved in the sale since bidding began in 1998.

"This has been a complex transaction that has involved far too many people to mention by name," Slater said. "However, I want to especially thank our friend and partner Richard L. Carrion, chairman of the board and president of Popular Inc. He has been a solid force and guiding presence from the very start.

"I also want to give special thanks and recognition to former PRTC president Carmen Ana Culpeper, who successfully accomplished the phenomenal task of managing the company through the sales process and transaction. Her contributions are greatly appreciated."

Slater acknowledged Gov. Pedro Rossello's central role in managing key aspects of the sale, and he gave special thanks to the Government Development Bank (GDB) and its work on the project under former president Marcos Rodriguez-Ema and current president Lourdes M. Rovira.

With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services.

Popular, Inc., the holding company of Banco Popular, Puerto Rico's largest financial institution, is the lead local partner in the GTE consortium. Banco Popular has current total assets in excess of $20 billion and deposits of $12 billion.

GDB Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of the GDB, currently holds 43 percent of the outstanding shares in PRTC. The GDB, with assets of $7.8 billion and $1.4 billion in capital, handles all the privatization efforts of the government of Puerto Rico.

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