Telephone companies are tired of being viewed as staid utilities with boring, generic products. But the fact remains that their executives usually know more about multiplexers than marketing. Now, U. S. West Inc. is defying tradition by picking a ladies' clothing marketer to become vice-president and general manager of its largest marketing division: the Home & Personal Services unit of the Baby Bell's telephone subsidiary, U. S. West Communications Inc.
Jane Evans, 46, admits she was surprised to be recruited by U. S. West, since she doesn't have any special knowledge of the phone business. She was president of the I. Miller shoes unit of Genesco Inc. at age 25, and most recently president and CEO of InterPacific Retail Group, which sells designer apparel and leather goods in Hawaii and the Far East. At U. S. West, she says, "the challenge for me is to instill a spirit of competition in what has been a noncompetitive business."