Birch Communications appoints FairPoint vet Tomae as CEO, while Oddo shifts to lead Birch Equity

Birch Communications has named Tony Tomae as its next president and CEO, succeeding Vincent Oddo, who will become president and CEO of Birch's sister company Birch Equity Partners.

Tony Tomae, Birch

Tomae (Source: Birch)

A 25-year telecom industry veteran, Tomae comes to Birch from FairPoint Communications where he served as chief revenue officer and oversaw sales, marketing, and product management functions. He left FairPoint in January as part of a company-wide restructuring effort.

Prior to coming to FairPoint in 2012, Tomae served in a number of executive positions at Deltacom -- now EarthLink -- and WilTel Communications.  Earlier, he held positions with AT&T (NYSE: T) and Broadwing Communications, now Level 3. 

Tomae will be based at the Atlanta Operations Center, and plans to relocate to the Atlanta area.

Among his many near-term goals will be expanding Birch's metro fiber footprint via organic builds; establishing interconnection agreements with other carriers; working with customers that have operations in the United States and Canada; and deepening the provider's cloud-based service portfolio.

Tomae's appointment as CEO comes at a transitional time for Birch, driven through Oddo's 12-year leadership. Since taking over the company as CEO in 2003, Oddo led Birch through 28 acquisitions, including the purchase of Birch Telecom in 2008, Cbeyond in 2014, and most recently the asset purchase of Primus Telecommunications.

These acquisitions have enabled Birch to grow the company from an unbundled network element platform (UNE-P) focused provider in its original nine-state footprint to a competitive provider that can provide service in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and five Canadian provinces.

Its acquisition of Primus was also transformational. Birch expanded its service footprint with over 250,000 business and consumer customers.Likewise, Primus customers get access to a broader set of services and customer care, while Birch's business customers will get access to a larger serving territory that will now reach into Canada.

Birch was also able to compete more effectively against telcos like Bell Canada, and providers like Zayo which gained a foothold in the country through its purchase of Allstream.

On the domestic front, the key focus for Birch has been on expanding its fiber footprint. The service provider set a goal to gain a fiber presence in 1 million buildings. To get there Birch is taking a two-pronged approach that includes building out its own fiber and purchasing long-term fiber indefeasible rights of use (IRUs) from other network partners.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
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Birch's Oddo: Primus Canada assets are a 'natural extension for our business'
Birch Communications confirms its acquisition of Primus' assets, gains over 250,000 customers
Birch says metro fiber sales rose 179% in 2015, sees increasing demand for cloud services
Birch's Oddo: We'll expand our fiber network to 1M buildings via organic builds, partner agreements

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