Frontier Communications said former Verizon executive John Stratton will become executive chairman of the board of the company once it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, expected in early 2021.
Frontier filed for Chapter 11 protection in April. In August, its reorganization plan, which would retire about $10 billion in debt, was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The plan is awaiting federal approvals.
“We are excited that John Stratton, an executive with a proven track record leading telecom businesses through all phases of the investment life cycle, will oversee Frontier’s strategic direction following the Company’s emergence from bankruptcy,” said Frontier board member and chairman if its finance committee Rob Schriesheim said in a press release, adding that Stratton’s acceptance of the new position is “a powerful endorsement of the company’s ability to deliver value to customers and shareholders.
Stratton became a Board Observer at Frontier in May of 2020 after he was selected by creditors in connection with Frontier’s restructuring. As a Board Observer, he has supported Frontier’s Finance Committee as it developed a strategic plan.
“Since becoming a Board Observer of Frontier in May, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with the Finance Committee to review and evaluate the company’s broad portfolio of assets and have developed strong confidence that Frontier can emerge as one of the nation’s leading broadband providers in the markets it serves,” Stratton said in a press release. “There is significant opportunity to drive operational efficiency, deliver an exceptional customer experience, expand Frontier’s fiber footprint and achieve profitable growth. I’m looking forward to working with the management team, helping drive execution of the Company’s strategic plan and achieving sustainable, long-term success.”
Stratton retired from Verizon in 2018 after 25 years with the company, most recently as EVP and president of Global Operations. Prior to that role, he had served as Chief Operating Officer of Verizon Wireless and separately, President of its Global Enterprise Solutions Group. He also was Head of Wireline Divisions at Verizon, where he had full responsibility for all of Verizon’s wireline operations for seven years.
Ducera Partners LLC and Houlihan Lokey Inc. are serving as financial advisors and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Milbank LLP are serving as legal advisors to representatives of noteholders of Frontier.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.