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Frontier Announces CEO Transition

Frontier Communications said long time CEO and telecom veteran Maggie Wilderotter will step down as CEO next month, becoming executive chairman of the mid-sized telecom service provider, making way for president and chief operating officer Daniel McCarthy to step into the CEO role.

Wilderotter, who was named Frontier CEO in 2004, will work closely with McCarthy to ensure a seamless transition, which is scheduled to take place on April 5.

The move comes days after Frontier landed one of its biggest deals, acquiring Verizon's wireline voice, broadband and video operations in California, Florida and Texas for $10.54 billion. 

In a note to clients, Elevation LLC media analyst Stephen Sweeney noted that the timing of the transition was “a bit odd” coming so soon after the Verizon deal announcement.

“FTR is in the middle of a very large and transformational M&A transaction with the acquisition of the VZ wireline assets, and it will also be raising a substantial amount of capital to finance the deal,” Sweeney wrote.  “While former CEO Wildreotter is staying with the company as Executive Chairman, the CEO transition does add a degree of risk in our view.  The pushback on the bullish side would be that with a very large deal the company could use a new leader of the transformed and much larger entity who is already very familiar with the legacy FTR business.”

McCarthy has been with Frontier since 1990, and has served as Frontier's president and COO since April 2012. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors since May 2014. McCarthy led the team negotiating the terms of the Verizon deal.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Frontier at this exciting moment in our history, and thank Maggie for her guidance and mentorship,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I look forward to working with her, the Board and the rest of the leadership team as we continue to enhance our competitive position in the markets we serve, execute our strategic plan and deliver strong results benefitting our shareholders, customers and employees."

A veteran of the cable and telecom industry, Wilderotter joined Frontier in 2004 as president and CEO and was named chairman and CEO in 2006. Prior to joining Frontier, Wilderotter served as senior vice president of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. Prior to that she served as CEO of Wink Communications, executive vice president of National Operations for AT&T Wireless Services Inc., CEO of AT&T's Aviation Communications Division and as senior vice president of McCaw Cellular Communications Inc.

"It has been a privilege to lead Frontier as CEO for more than 10 years, and I am very proud of our team's accomplishments,” Wilderotter said in a statement. “The Board and I are confident that now is the right time to transition leadership responsibilities and that Dan is the right leader to advance Frontier's record of success. Since joining Frontier nearly 25 years ago, Dan has been an invaluable leader and contributor to Frontier's significant achievements. Frontier benefits from an outstanding management team with a diverse range of experienced leaders and thousands of dedicated employees. I look forward to remaining with the Company as Executive Chairman and contributing to its continued growth and success."

In a statement, Frontier’s lead director Howard Schrott said the moves are part of the board’s “on-going succession planning process, which took on special emphasis several years ago when Maggie first discussed her plans with us. In Dan McCarthy the Board has found the person best qualified to drive Frontier forward. Dan is a top-notch leader who knows Frontier and our industry. He has an intimate understanding of our strategy, has a proven track record in operational execution and, most of all, knows how to create shareholder value. We are highly confident in Dan's abilities and anticipate a seamless transition to his new role as CEO of Frontier."