Frontier's regulatory head Abernathy to retire in 2017

Two businessmen shaking hands in a hallway
Image: Getty / Sam Edwards

Kathleen Abernathy, Frontier’s EVP of external affairs, is stepping down from her post after nearly seven years on the job leading the telco’s regulatory policy.

Abernathy Image: Frontier

Frontier revealed in its latest SEC filing that Abernathy plans to retire from the company in April 2017 but will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the service provider during a transition period.

During this period, Abernathy will provide counsel to Frontier concerning external affairs and will continue to oversee the America’s Best Communities Prize Campaign.

Abernathy, a former Republican FCC commissioner, guided the telco’s regulatory process through three major acquisitions of properties from the AT&T and Verizon.

Her greatest influence at Frontier was felt in the telco’s opposition to the FCC’s controversial business data services (BDS) proposal.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler took BDS and other key issues like set-top box reform off the FCC’s November meeting agenda following calls from Republican lawmakers to not act on complex issues as the new presidential administration takes hold.

A group of telcos, including CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell, FairPoint, and Frontier banded together in their protest of the BDS proposal as the Invest in Broadband for America coalition.

RELATED: CenturyLink, Frontier say FCC’s backing off on BDS proposal was the right thing to do

Abernathy came to Frontier in 2010 to take on the role of EVP of Regulatory and Government Affairs. Prior to this, Abernathy served as an FCC commissioner under Chairman Michael Powell, who is now president and CEO of the NCTA.

Following her departure from the FCC, she was a front runner to become the president of the National Association of Broadcasters. Abernathy went on to serve as a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

Mark Nielsen, Frontier EVP and general counsel, will take over Abernathy’s duties.