Profile: Solomon Trujillo-Digital Shootout

Article excerpt

SOLOMON TRUJILLO

President & Chief Executive

US WEST

Age: 47

Family: Married with three daughters, ages 17,19, and 20.

Education: B.A. and M.B.A., University of Wyoming.

Favorite Hobbies: Racquetball, activities with daughters, especially watching his youngest play soccer.

Favorite Getaway: "Anywhere warm and on a beach with my family."

Most important mentor: "Unfortunately, no one."

Other notes: He loves to compete, calls himself "pretty competitive."

"I'm a competitor. I don't like losing," responds us west president and CEO Sol Trujillo, when asked to explain why he's been characterized as a fighter. "To me, being a fighter is about the will to win, the passion, the dedication, and the fire."

Trujillo will need all this and more to succeed in what has been characterized as the "bloodiest brawl in business," the fight among the longdistance phone companies, regional phone companies, wireless phone companies, and cable TV companies to provide consumers with telephony and data service.

Trujillo, who ascended to US West's CEO seat after US West split its cable operation from its telephony operation in 1998, plans to thrive in this brawl by focusing on the two I's: innovation and integration. This focus on innovation is evidenced by US West being first to market with Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), technologically turbocharged phone lines that can deliver high speed data streams. Inter@ctive Week recently declared US West the "most innovative local exchange carrier" for delivering this technology.

Trujillo's plans for integration are exemplified by its PCS service that allows a customer s cell, home, and business phones to ring on one number and store messages in one mailbox. "We are the only company in the country that has figured out how to integrate wireless and wire technology," asserts Trujillo. "You can have a single mailbox. You can have it all on a single bill." He also plans to merge customers' telephone, TV, and Internet services. Says Trujillo, "You'll be able to read your voice mail or listen to your e-mails if that's what you want."

The son of a railroad worker who worked his way through college before becoming US West's (then known as Mountain Bell) youngest officer ever at the age of 32, Trujillo has built his career on being a "change agent." In 1987, he launched US West's Small Business Group, a new idea at the time, but now an industry benchmark. "I was always a person who challenged the status quo," explains Trujillo, who started his career at US West in 1974 and worked in just about every part of the company on his way to the CEO suite. …