Stock in Nortel tumbled 18.5 percent, or $1.19, today after the networking giant announced a shakeup of its financial management team.

Chief Financial Officer Douglas Beatty and Controller Michael Gollogly were “placed on paid leave of absence pending completion of the independent review being undertaken by the Nortel Networks Audit Committee.” Nortel said in a statement.

Nortel (NYSE: NT) dropped 27 cents, to $6.15, on the news before markets opened. It closed the day at $5.24.

The stock had more than doubled in price since the start of the year as telecom spending increased overall and Nortel landed several contracts.

However, Nortel announced last week that it was going to have to restate some earlier financial reports based on the findings of an independent review.

William Kerr, a former executive with Nortel, was named to the position on an interim basis. He held a variety of financial positions with Nortel between 1994-2001.

MarryAnne Pahapill is the interim CFO. She has worked at Nortel since 1999.

Nortel also said it would delay its financial filings for 2003 beyond March 30.

Nortel: www.Nortel.com