Paul Sunu may have only become FairPoint's (FRCMQ.PK) new CEO this past August, taking over from former utility executive David Hauser in August, but his honeymoon will be short. Much like his former employer Hawaiian Telcom, Sunu is taking over a company that fell into bankruptcy after also acquiring Verizon (NYSE: VZ) lines in the region.
On the former Hargray Communications veteran's immediate to-do list is to convince the Vermont PSB, which once considered revoking the beleaguered telecom provider's license from operating in the state.
Although Maine and New Hampshire Public Utility Commissions (PUC) both approved its bankruptcy plan, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) rejected it, saying the plan was "overly optimistic." Just this past week, FairPoint resubmitted its plan to the Vermont PSB and is now eagerly awaiting a decision.
Interestingly, Sunu will work with not only new CFO Ajay Sabherwal, but also former CEO Hauser, who will remain on board as a consultant until the company gets out of bankruptcy.
But even if and when Sunu and his team does convince the Vermont PSB that its plan is sound and ultimately reemerges from bankruptcy, the nightmare Sunu will face is winning back the trust of its New England-based carrier, business and residential customers that suffered outages and customer service flubs from its inability to properly integrate the lines it bought off of Verizon.
Failing to regain the public's trust, especially in these New England regions, will surely be Sunu's biggest nightmare.