Integra's CEO Kevin O'Hara wants to put company on stable ground

Whether it was their reorganization, move to focus on larger businesses, not to mention hiring its third CEO, it's clear that Integra Telecom endured a lot in the past year.

However, new CEO Kevin O'Hara, one of the co-founders of Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT), thinks that he can get the CLEC back on solid ground and reestablish the Integra brand.

"Organizations tend to lock up if they're asked to do too much changing," O'Hara told The Oregonian.

Like other CLECs, Integra's revenues declined from a high of $683 million in 2008 to $616 million in 2010 due to the recent recession driving many of its small to medium business (SMB) customers to either reduce their telecom spend out of business. These factors almost drove Integra into bankruptcy.  

At the same time Integra has had to deal with aggressive cable operators such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) also targeting not only their bread and butter SMB base, but increasingly larger businesses with fiber-based Ethernet and IP-based voice services.

Integra has fought back in the past year by committing $100 million to expand its fiber network footprint into more buildings to deliver Ethernet and related services. As of the end of September, Integra had 1,700 fiber-fed buildings and 5,000 miles of long-haul fiber. Simultaneously, it had expanded its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) roll out.  

But just as former Integra chairman Tom Casey took over the company from co-founder Dudley Slater to execute its larger business drive, he abruptly left to join pigment company Tronox Inc. in October.

Despite the disruption caused by Casey's departure and having to lay off 75 employees in May, O'Hara is adamant that the "core business is sound," he said, "and the company is proceeding with its new strategy."

For more:
- The Oregonian has this article

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