What makes him powerful:
Dave Wittwer, President & CEO, TDS
Dave Wittwer has worn various hats at TDS (NYSE: TDS), the eighth largest U.S.-based telco, since he started working for the service provider in 1983.
All of his previous roles, which include executive vice president of Staff Operations and chief financial officer, president of the company's ILEC operations, and chief operating officer, were a sound foundation he built when he took over as CEO in 2006.
It's not surprising that Wittwer is taking that jack-of-all-trades mentality to help transform TDS Telecom, whose markets range from suburban to very rural, into a broadband services company.
Wittwer's broadband company vision is based on a two-pronged approach that's centered on building up its business services portfolio, including cloud and managed services, and expanding its base of broadband and video offerings for consumers.
In the business arena, Wittwer and his team have set a clear focus on targeting emerging business needs with Ethernet and cloud services. During Q1 2011, TDS Telecom added 700 managed IP stations in its ILEC division and 3,400 in its CLEC territory.
Of course, a key piece of that vision is growing out its data center and cloud service capabilities. Following its earlier purchases of data and cloud service providers VISI and TEAM, Wittwer has been also developing his managed services management team with the appointment of Bill Megan as its president and CEO.
On the residential side, TDS Telecom has been no less aggressive. Earlier this year, the service provider rolled out its VDSL2-based service to deliver speeds up to 25 Mbps in 20 of its 30 markets. At the same time, TDS is also offering Fiber the Home (FTTH) based services, including IPTV, in the Mt. Juliet and Farragut, Tenn. markets to challenge dominant cable operator Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA).
Complementing its broadband vision is the $127 million it has dedicated to expand broadband availability in 20 states via a mix of its own investment and USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) grants.
With broadband and business services as Wittwer's calling cards, the main challenge that he has going forward is expanding its broadband capabilities to fight inevitable wireline voice line losses, while educating its business customer base that it can help offload non essential functions like e-mail hosting in their data centers.