Zayo Group names Level 3 alum Crouch as president and COO, sets future growth strategy

fiber (pixabay)

Zayo Group has tapped telecom industry veteran Andrew Crouch to be its new president and COO, taking over the role from Chris Morley.

Andrew Crouch
Crouch. Image: Level 3

Morley, Zayo’s current president and COO, will remain with Zayo during a transition period.

Crouch, who will oversee Zayo’s business operations and report directly to CEO Dan Caruso, is set to start on April 27.

What Crouch brings to the table is experience and relationships in running large operations both in the U.S. and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa). Crouch most recently served as regional president of EMEA for Level 3 Communications, where he also was responsible for its Global Accounts Division.

Similar to Zayo’s CTO Jack Waters, Crouch worked alongside Caruso during the early days of Level 3.

Crouch joined Level 3 in 2001 and held a variety of executive positions leading marketing, product and commercial organizations, including regional president of North America and Asia-Pacific. Prior to Level 3, Crouch worked at British Telecom and Concert Communications, a joint venture between BT and AT&T.

RELATED: Zayo taps Level 3 veteran Waters as CTO, president of network solutions

Caruso said that Crouch is “what Zayo needs to drive our continued growth as the global leader in communications infrastructure.”

Analysts greeted Crouch’s appointment favorably, citing his regional expertise.

“While we believe Morley was excellent, ZAYO is taking advantage of the transition period of LVLT and CTL's merger and being opportunistic in its hiring of Crouch, in our view,” wrote Jennifer Fritzsche, managing director at Wells Fargo, in a research note. “We believe Crouch's experience at LVLT (both in North America and Europe) shows he is well positioned to extract more sales and revenue from a company with deep fiber assets.”

Fritzsche said that Crouch’s appointment isn’t a reflection of problems at Zayo.

“We have received many incoming questions since this news hit last night regarding if this management change could be due to some operational weakness at ZAYO,” Fritzsche said. “We do NOT believe this to be the case.”

Wells Fargo’s thesis is reflected in Zayo’s update to its prior guidance.

In the press release announcing Crouch’s appointment, Zayo told investors that bookings for the March quarter “were strong in comparison to the prior quarter and consistent with expectations set by management during the March 17, 2017 investor call.”

Wells Fargo expects Zayo to report $6.1 million, “up sequentially from the prior quarter.”