Larissa Herda, tw telecom: Wireline's most powerful people

What makes her powerful:

Larissa Herda

Larissa Herda, tw telecom

Since becoming CEO and President of tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC), a service provider once known as Time Warner Telecom in a joint venture with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Larissa Herda's leadership has helped vault it into becoming one of the largest and most profitable among the competitive U.S.-based business service providers.

Over her 15-year career at tw telecom, Herda has helped direct the growth of the provider's revenue from $26 million in 1996 to $1.3 billion in 2010.

The engine behind tw telecom's revenue growth has been an ongoing drive to expand its broadband-based data network from 17 markets to 75 over its national IP backbone.

With a focus on business services, it's not surprising that tw telecom attributes that success to selling Ethernet-based services to business users. In Q1 2011, Ethernet and IP-based services drove a 17.9 percent increase in tw telecom's data revenues. Overall, the service provider's data revenues were 46 percent of revenue for the recent quarter, up from 41 percent in Q1 2010.

The data focus has also given tw telecom a foundation to deliver emerging services including emerging telepresence via a partnership with BT Conferencing and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO). In this case, tw telecom customers would be able to use its Ethernet and MPLS IP VPN services to connect enterprises to BT's (NYSE: BT) Global Video Exchange.  

Like other major service providers tw telecom has also enabled IPv6 addressing on its network. This has resonated with a number of government and education customers, including the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), which established its first IPv6 commercial Internet connection with tw telecom.

While selling data services to businesses is clearly Herda's battle cry, tw telecom is also seeing some uptick in the wholesale side of the business, not surprisingly, from selling to wireless operators. As more of the major wireless providers, including AT&T Wireless (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and smaller players like Metro PCS expand their respective LTE buildouts, they are turning to carriers like tw telecom for Ethernet-based wireless backhaul solutions that leverage the same fiber going into their business customer buildings.

Having put tw telecom on a growth path, Herda's ongoing challenge is to maintain growth and remain independent at a time of rapid consolidation in the competitive and ILEC service provider space.

Larissa Herda, tw telecom: Wireline's most powerful people