Windstream Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”), a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions, today announced nine appointments to its new Board of Directors (“Board”) that will govern the Company upon emergence from restructuring as a privately-held company. Tony Thomas also will continue leading Windstream as President and Chief Executive Officer and will serve as a member of the Board. The Company expects to emerge from restructuring later this summer.
“We are pleased to announce these appointments to the new Board of Windstream, which will include an impressive group of senior leaders with extensive experience in the telecommunications industry, strong operational and financial expertise and significant track records of success,” stated Tony Thomas. “Windstream will benefit from their valuable insights and guidance as we continue executing the Company’s strategy to provide innovative network and software solutions to customers. I would also like to express my appreciation for our retiring Board members for their service to Windstream. They have provided valuable oversight for many years, and, on behalf of Windstream, I want to thank them for their dedication and leadership.”
Mr. Thomas continued, “I am extremely honored to continue serving as president and CEO of this incredible organization. Over the past few years, Windstream has made tremendous progress in our goal to transform our business to growth, and I look forward to working with the new Board to accelerate our transformation for long-term value creation. We will emerge from restructuring with a strong balance sheet and access to approximately $2 billion in new capital to expand 1 Gig broadband service to rural America and help businesses succeed in the digital transformation.”
- David Brown: Mr. Brown is a Managing Director of Oaktree Capital Management. Previously, Brown was a Principal at Glendon Capital Management (formerly Barclays Capital). Prior thereto, he was a vice president with Citigroup Global Markets and also a Managing Director with Archview Investment Group. He first joined Oaktree in 2003, after having spent two years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as an analyst in the Mergers & Strategic Advisory Group.
- Randy Dunbar: Mr. Dunbar most recently served as President of Zayo’s Global Transport Segment. He had P&L responsibility for various fiber-based businesses that included product, engineering, architecture, service delivery and NCC/Support functions. Previously, Dunbar was Vice President of Wholesale and Strategic Partnerships at Clearwire Corporation and SVP, Enterprise Business Unit at Level 3 Communications.
- Bruce Kenny: Mr. Kenny is an Operating Executive at Evergreen Coast Capital where he assists portfolio companies in product, technology, cloud operations, IT systems and services. He has over 30 years of experience in technology product companies. Kenny has operated across various sectors of the enterprise software industry, including ERP, CRM, Information Management, Analytics, and eCommerce. Prior to Evergreen, Kenny was Vice President, Product Development and Hosted Operations at Viewpoint Construction Software, a Bain Capital portfolio company. He was previously CTO and EVP Products at Webtrends, a Francisco Partners portfolio company. He has also had stints with Infopia, an e-commerce platform, and Pivotal Corp., a customer relationship management software company. He currently sits on the boards of Travelport, Quest Software and ASG Technologies and is an observer at Athenahealth and Gigamon.
- William LaPerch: Mr. LaPerch was President and Chief Executive Officer of AboveNet, a publicly traded provider of high bandwidth fiber-optic connectivity solutions, where he managed the company through its Chapter 11 reorganization. He has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. LaPerch is a current Windstream board member and member of the Digital Realty Trust board.
- W. Robert Mudge: Mr. Mudge most recently served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Verizon. He was responsible for the design and construction of Verizon’s national fiber build and network densification, as well as the planning, acquisition and integration of XO communications into Verizon. Previously, Mudge was Executive Vice President of Network Operations at Verizon. Before that, he was President of Consumer and Mass Business Markets at Verizon where he oversaw approximately $30 billion in annual revenues and 35,000 employees. Mudge currently serves on the Board of Directors of UniTek Global Services.
- Paul H. Sunu: Mr. Sunu was the former Chief Executive Officer of FairPoint Communications until its merger with Consolidated Communications in 2017. Prior to FairPoint, Sunu was the Chief Financial Officer of Hargray Communications, Hawaiian Telcom Communications and Madison River Communications. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Electric Lightwave and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Madison River Communications, Hawaiian Telcom Communications and Centennial Communications.
- Tony Thomas: Mr. Thomas has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Windstream since his appointment in December 2014. Thomas served as the Chief Financial Officer for Windstream from August 2009 through September 2014. Thomas joined Windstream as controller following the spinoff from Alltel Corp. He held a variety of financial and operational leadership roles at Alltel after joining the company when it merged with 360 Communications in 1998. Thomas is a current Windstream board member.
- Anand Vadapalli: Mr. Vadapalli currently serves as Operating Partner at SDC Capital Partners LLC, and Director at Premera Blue Cross where he also chairs the Audit Committee. Previously Vadapalli served as the President and CEO of Alaska Communications as well as Chairman of the Board for USTelecom. His sector experience includes prior service in various capacities at Valor Telecom, Network Telephone, Cincinnati Bell / Broadwing.
- Michael Watchorn: Mr. Watchorn is a Principal of Seapoint Capital Management, LLC, a privately held family office investment and consulting firm. Previously, Watchorn served as a Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager in both the Global Corporate Credit and Distressed Credit groups of Pacific Investment Management Company, the latter of which he founded in 2009. Prior to that he served as a Managing Director and High Yield Bond Portfolio Manager at Oaktree Capital Management (and its predecessor unit at Trust Company of the West), where he directed analysts’ research efforts and reviewed the analyses produced in support of portfolio activities. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has served as a Visiting Lecturer of Economics at Claremont McKenna College. Watchorn currently serves on the board of directors of Westmoreland Mining Holdings LLC.
- Johannes Weber: Mr. Weber is a Portfolio Manager in the New York office of Elliott Management Corporation, a New York-based investment fund with approximately $40 billion in assets under management. He is responsible for certain public and private equity and credit investments across multiple industries.
The Company will name one additional member to the board at a later date.
Windstream Holdings, Inc., is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions. Windstream provides data networking, core transport, security, unified communications and managed services to mid-market, enterprise and wholesale customers across the U.S. The company also offers broadband, entertainment and security services for consumers and small and medium-sized businesses primarily in rural areas in 18 states. Services are delivered over multiple network platforms including a nationwide IP network, our proprietary cloud core architecture and on a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 164,000 miles. Additional information is available at windstream.com or windstreamenterprise.com. Please visit our newsroom at news.windstream.com or follow us on Twitter at @Windstream.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts that address activities, events or developments that we expect, believe or anticipate will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on certain assumptions based on management’s views, estimates, beliefs as of the time of these statements regarding future events and results. When used in this release, words such as “will,” “potential,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “expect,” “may,” “should,” “anticipate,” “could,” “plan,” “predict,” “strategy,” “future” or their negatives or other words that convey the uncertainty of future events or outcomes, are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. Forward-looking statements involve uncertainties and are subject to many risks and variables. Actual future events may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors related to our Chapter 11 cases, which are set forth in our risk factors described in our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K and 2020 First Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Although we believe our forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, no assurance can be given that these assumptions are accurate or that any of these expectations will be achieved (partially or in full) or will prove to have been correct. In light of the above, the events anticipated by our forward-looking statements may not occur, and, if any of such events do, we may not have correctly anticipated timing or the extent of their impact. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we undertake no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. These cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf.