Paul Brent - The CEO of Nortel says details of job cuts at the struggling company will be made public within a few weeks, likely before the end of April.

Talking with CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent, in his first broadcast interview since the company filed for bankruptcy protection, Mike Zafirovski said the last three weeks have been a blur and most of his time has been spent trying to reassure customers that Nortel intends to continue doing business.

He says "within several weeks" Nortel will make an announcement regarding job cuts.

Although Zafirovski would not provide details, he did not dispute a statement made by Paul Brent that said the company faces "the reality of having to cut thousands of jobs."

As for employees who have lost their severance pay, Zafirovski says it was "the most difficult decision I have ever had to make as a manager."

  • Watch our EXTENDED COVERAGE about the decision to cut severance

He says it came down to a choice of the future of the company and being able to survive versus paying out severance packages. He also said he didn't think a committee of creditors would ever allow such payments to be made.

Zafirovski will be making a trip to Ottawa for a full general staff meeting on or about Feb. 26 or 27. He says he wants to take a more aggressive role in explaining what is happening to his company.

In the meantime, Zafirovski says Nortel is talking to the federal government about assistance but says it's not right to discuss the details.

He says "this story is not over" and remains convinced Nortel will come back from financial ruin. He also promises he will stay to see that happen.

As for the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to CEOs and senior managers, he would only say that he and other managers are taking a hit.

Zafirovski says stock options, which are part of executive pay, are "worthless and will be worthless forever." He maintains the "pain is being spread around" because any managers who leave will not get severance packages either.