Windstream replaces CEO

Jeff Gardner has stepped down from his position as president and chief executive at Windstream, to be replaced by Tony Thomas.

Effective immediately, Thomas’ role will also see him appointed as a director at the company. Gardner will remain on the board and act as senior advisor to the CEO until February 1 2015, to ensure a smooth transition. 

“The Board 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. 

“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 has served as CFO at Windstream for the past eight years, and, most recently, as the company’s president of real estate investment trust (REIT) operations

Thomas has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry and played an integral part in Windstream’s expansion, having completed seven acquisitions totalling more than $5.6 billion in transaction value. 

“I am honoured by this appointment and by the Board’s confidence,” Thomas said. “I also remain intently focussed on executing the REIT spin-off, which will enable Windstream to accelerate network investments, provide enhanced services to customers and maximise shareholder value.”

Francis Frantz, director at Windstream, will lead the process of selecting a new president and CEO of the REIT, and will leave the Windstream board to become chairman of the REIT in early 2015