Frontier's Wilderotter to step down, McCarthy to assume CEO role

Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter is going to step down as CEO and is transitioning to an executive chair role in April. Taking over the CEO role is Dan McCarthy, who currently serves as Frontier's president and COO.

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"It has been a privilege to lead Frontier as CEO for more than 10 years, and I am very proud of our team's accomplishments," Wilderotter said in a release announcing the management transition. "The board and I are confident that now is the right time to transition leadership responsibilities and that Dan is the right leader to advance Frontier's record of success."

Under the terms of his employment agreement, McCarthy will receive an annual base salary of $925,000 and is eligible to get a $1.2 million target bonus. In addition, he can receive annual target equity grants of $4.25 million payable in stock and performance shares.

A 25-year company veteran, McCarthy has been an integral part in Frontier's move to scale its business to become a provider that provides services in 28 states with nearly 15 million addressable households. McCarthy led the team negotiating the terms of the company's $10.5 billion agreement to acquire Verizon's wireline voice, broadband and video operations in California, Florida and Texas.

In her new role as executive chairman, Wilderotter will receive a base salary of $1 million and be eligible for a $2 million target bonus.

Wilderotter will go down in the company's history as the executive who was responsible for enhancing the size of the company by acquiring wireline properties from both AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) .

Earlier this month, Frontier made one of its largest deals in company history by reaching an agreement to purchase Verizon's wireline assets in three states for $10.5 billion. In 2010, Frontier purchased Verizon's rural lines in 14 states, a deal that helped scale its business to serve 4 million residential, including FiOS, and business customers in 27 states. 

The service provider also completed its acquisition of AT&T's wireline assets in Connecticut in October--one that enhanced Frontier's presence in the state, including the addition of U-verse video and broadband services to its portfolio.

Frontier is not the only company to conduct a sudden leadership change. Fellow independent ILEC Windstream announced in December that long-time CEO Jeff Gardner would step down. He was replaced by Tony Thomas, who was then serving as the president of the company's real estate investment trust (REIT) and former CFO.

For more:
- see the release
- WSJ has this article (sub. req.)

Related articles:
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Report: Verizon to sell $10B in wireline assets to Frontier
Report: Verizon could sell wireline assets as part of $15B sale
Verizon's McAdam: Some wireline assets would be better off in someone else's hands