O'Hara departs Integra, Guth named interim CEO

Integra has made a key change to its top management team by naming board member Robert Guth as interim CEO and president. Guth takes over the helm from Kevin O'Hara, who joined Integra's board in 2009 and served as CEO since 2011.

Kevin O'Hara

O'Hara (Source: Integra)

The company's board said that Guth will serve as acting CEO while it searches for a permanent replacement for O'Hara with an executive search firm.

Integra did not provide any details on O'Hara's departure and they did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Guth is the fourth CEO to lead the company. Like O'Hara, Guth also joined Integra's board in 2009.

Over the course of his career, Guth served in leadership roles at a number of large service providers including Level 3 and TelCove, where he served as CEO. In 2011, he was elected as the chairman of Lumos Networks' board and also serves on Otelco's board.

O'Hara, one of the founders of Level 3 Communications, took the reins of the company in December 2011 when Tom Casey abruptly left the service provider only after only seven months on the job to become the CEO of pigment manufacturer Tronox, where he served as that company's board chairman.

His departure from the company comes at a time when the company has been advancing its movement into the larger business space.

During O'Hara's three-year tenure at Integra, the service provider aggressively expanded its fiber-based network, including the adoption of 100G on various long-haul network routes and in key markets such as Salt Lake City to Sacramento. In addition, the service provider enhanced the reach of its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) access service. The EoC network was extended into a total of 187 on-network local serving offices (LSOs), enabling it to reach more than 460,000 businesses in over 140,000 commercial buildings as of mid-February.

"We recognize Kevin O'Hara's contributions to Integra and his leadership during a time of significant transition in the company," said Paul Sunu, chairman of Integra, in a release. "Integra's progress under Kevin's watch has led us to financial stability, a strengthened network infrastructure and a portfolio of products that align well with our strategic focus on the enterprise marketplace."

Guth said in a release that his goal is to continue to build on the work O'Hara conducted to advance the service provider's influence in the larger business market where it is seeing growing competition from a number of local cable operators.

"Integra has a solid foundation for growth and a vast market opportunity for our high-bandwidth fiber networks and enterprise-ready products and services. My charter is to continue to build on that foundation, and I look forward to working closely with our management team to develop the agenda for our next phase of growth and position the business for lasting success. As always, we will ultimately measure that success in terms of the value we deliver to the customers we serve."

From an overall financial perspective, Integra is still in a transition mode. In 2013, the company's revenue remained flat at $591.2 million from 2012, reported The Oregonian. However, the service provider maintained that its shift to serving larger businesses would help drive up its operating profit margins.

One of the lingering issues for Integra was that it had $800 million in debt at the end of 2013, which was related to its 2007 acquisition of Eschelon Telecom. By acquiring Eschelon, Integra was able to quickly expand its serving territory throughout the Western part of the United States.

For more:
- see the release
The Oregonian has this article

Related articles:
Integra EoC footprint surpasses 460,000 businesses
Integra becomes qualified voice, data service vendor for California's CALNET 3 program
Dark fiber reignites as wireless backhaul heats up – Year in Review 2013
Integra: Dark fiber contenders
Integra connects its fiber network into 62 data centers

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