Windstream has added in-depth institutional fiber knowledge to its board of directors with the recent appointment Rob Shanahan. Shanahan was president and CEO of Lightower Fiber Networks for 17 years before it was sold to Crown Castle for $7.1 billion in cash three years ago.
Windstream emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September with $2 billion in hand to fuel new growth as a privately-held company. It also shed $4 billion in debt.
Windstream CEO Tony Thomas has said his company would spend about $2 billion to expand its fiber in order to deliver 1-Gig speeds across the 18 states in its footprint, which also includes rural areas. Windstream plans to invest in fiber build-outs in both its CLEC and ILEC footprints.
Shanahan was at the Lightower helm as it became one of the largest metro fiber providers in the U.S. after it was founded in 2006. Lightower provided broadband infrastructure, digital fiber optic networks and data center services to its customers.
Shanahan also co-founded Conversent Communications and served as the company’s president and CEO from 1998 until it was sold in 2006. Shanahan began his career with Pace Long Distance Company, a start-up long-distance provider. He had a previous three-year stint as Frontier's general manager early in his career, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“Rob’s vast leadership experience in fiber deployments and strong commitment to a customer-first approach will be a tremendous asset to our board as we substantially expand our fiber infrastructure to expand 1Gig broadband service and transform our business to growth,” Thomas said in a statement.
Prior to Shanahan filling the final board seat, Windstream Holdings announced a new board of directors in July in anticipation of exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The new appointees to the board included former executives from Verizon, Zayo and FairPoint Communications, as well as a portfolio manager from Elliott Management.