If there's any one thing that Karen Puckett, Chief Operating Officer of CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is known for during her 27 years in the telecom industry, it would be her ability to integrate the assets CenturyLink has bought from other companies.
After joining the former CenturyTel in 2000 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2000, Puckett played a key role in the integration of almost 500,000 phone lines from the former GTE (now Verizon) in Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin. Puckett upped this feat just two years later when she helped integrate CenturyTel acquire and integrate another 700,000 access lines from Verizon in Alabama and Missouri.
But the deal that Puckett is probably best known for in more recent years was serving on the team that bought out and integrated the former Embarq assets into its fold-a deal that included about six million phone lines--immediately established CenturyLink the fourth largest U.S.-based telecom service provider.
Thus far, CenturyLink's integration of has gone as planned. In addition to completing the integration of its voice traffic onto a common IP-based backbone, CenturyLink once again saw over 70,000 new subscribers come aboard.
As the COO of CenturyLink, Puckett's role is a multifaceted one. Not only does she direct all of the ILEC's centralized and field operations, but also customer care, marketing, enterprise sales and sales support functions.
But Puckett's biggest challenge will happen in the coming year as CenturyLink proceeds with its impending acquisition of RBOC Qwest. When the acquisition of Qwest is completed next January, CenturyLink will once again transform itself with expanded local and national service assets.
Given her track record, we think that Puckett is well prepared to make CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest a success.