What makes him powerful:
Jeff Storey, President & COO, Level 3 Communications
Jeff Storey may have only joined Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) in 2008, but his connection to the company dates back to 2005 when Level 3 acquired the former WilTel. At that time, Storey went onto work for Leucadia Telecommunications Group.
After running into a number of integration problems through its acquisition binge of various long-haul and metro-based fiber providers such as TelCove, Broadwing and Progress Telecom, Level 3 kept a relatively low M&A profile in recent years with a focus on trying get back on a path of profitability.
Two ways that Storey is helping Level 3 become profitable again is through developing flexible wholesale options and delivering enterprise services (to other carriers and directly), and external growth via acquisitions.
Storey helped Level 3 break the service provider's M&A silence earlier this year when it announced a deal to acquire Global Crossing for $3 billion in April.
Although Level 3 is known for its wholesale capabilities, a major thrust of the Global Crossing deal is about delivering enterprise services in its domestic and international markets like collaboration, CDN (content delivery networks), VPN (virtual private networks) and of course Ethernet. In addition to gaining a stronger portfolio of enterprise services, Level 3 gains instant access into the burgeoning South American market, one where Global Crossing has an established presence serving broadcasters with CDN services and other enterprises.
Outside of its acquisition of Global Crossing, Storey and his team will continue to invest capital in new areas such as colocation and metro area fiber-based networks to extend services to new and existing business customers.
Despite Level 3's renewed focus on the enterprise market doesn't mean it isn't being aggressive on the wholesale front either where the drive is centered on a consultative approach. Notable programs include Wholesale Partner Program designed to simplify how it delivers service to it enterprise resale partners and its wireless backhaul program that leverages its fiber network, microwave and carrier partner's off-net facilities.
Storey may have his work cut for himself, but if he leverages the same skills he used to turn the once-flailing WilTel around, he will be able to build an even stronger competitor to challenge other global players like AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) for a bigger piece of the multinational corporation services pie.