Gardner resigns as Windstream president-CEO

In a management shakeup, Windstream founding President-CEO Jeff Gardner has resigned and Tony Thomas, president of the company's real estate investment trust (REIT) and former CFO, has been named as his replacement. Gardner will stay on as a senior advisor to the CEO and member of the board of directors through Feb. 1, 2015.

Jeff Gardner Windstream

Gardner

"The board (of directors) and I agree that a change in perspective is needed in order to accelerate the pace of change within the company and to more effectively respond to the rapidly evolving needs of our customers," Gardner said in a corporate press release. "The board's confidence in Tony is well placed. His leadership and strong financial acumen will benefit investors and customers as he leads Windstream in the future."

Thomas demonstrated that financial acumen during nearly eight years as the company's CFO, a position he held until September of this year.

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"I also remain intently focused on executing the REIT spinoff, which will enable Windstream to accelerate network investments, provide enhanced services to customers and maximize shareholder value," Thomas said in the same new release.

Gardner was credited with leading the company's spinoff from Alltel and "its transformation from a rural wireline telephone business to a Fortune 500 company and nationwide provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions," including a most recent move as a video provider, board Chairman Jeff Hinson said in the same press release.

On the other hand, he was also in a leadership role as Windstream's residential broadband service took a hit from Netflix's ISP Speed Index for November, which put the carrier in 13th place out of 16 ISPs, delivering an average broadband stream of 2.05 Mbps, topping only Verizon and AT&T DSL offers and Clearwire. He also was in charge when Windstream announced it would cut 350 jobs.

The press release credited Thomas for his role in "Windstream's expansion by completing seven acquisitions totaling more than $5.6 billion in transaction value."

For more:
- Windstream has this press release
- Arkansas Business had this story

Related articles:
Windstream to cut 350 jobs to improve cost structure, operations
Windstream implements Overture's 6500 platform for multi-access Ethernet strategy
Windstream's Gardner: Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger won't change near-term SMB focus
Windstream takes shot at TV game with its Kinetic service

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