The chief executive of bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp , Mike Zafirovski, plans to leave the company soon after leading it through four years of tumult, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The newspaper said Zafirovski's departure would come in a matter of weeks, not months.

Nortel was not immediately available for comment.

The company, once one of the world's biggest technology firms, filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the United States in January after an economic crisis derailed a turnaround effort that began under Zafirovski in 2005.

He had previously been the No. 2 executive at Motorola .

One of his first orders of business was to pay nearly $2.5 billion to settle two class-action lawsuits from a previous accounting scandal. He was also forced to make deep cuts throughout his tenure as industry conditions worsened.

At the height of the technology boom at the start of this decade, Nortel employed more than 90,000 people, but the number has since been chopped by two-thirds.

Last month, Sweden's Ericsson won an auction for the company's wireless assets, paying $1.13 billion for what are considered the company's crown jewels.

Nortel representatives appeared before a government committee on Friday to answer questions about the sale, which was opposed by another Canadian tech firm, Research In Motion , maker of the BlackBerry.

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski, Ritsuko Ando and Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Gary Hill)