Windstream Holdings has appointed Tony Thomas as president and CEO, and a director of Windstream, effective immediately.
Thomas succeeds Jeff Gardner, who will stay on as senior advisor to the CEO and as a member of the board of directors through February 1. Thomas has been Windstream’s CFO over the past eight years and most recently as the company’s president of real estate investment trust (REIT) operations.
“I am proud to have led Windstream from its creation in 2006. It has been a privilege to work with our board, leadership team and talented associates across the organization,” said Gardner. “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. 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.”
Tony Thomas, 43, has more than 20 years experience in the communications industry. He was instrumental in the development of Windstream’s REIT spinoff and has served as president of real estate investment trust operations at Windstream since October 2014. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois.
Windstream Director Francis X. “Skip” Frantz will lead the process to select a new president and CEO of the REIT. Frantz will also serve as chairman of the REIT’s board. He will leave the Windstream board upon close of the transaction, which is anticipated to occur in the first half of 2015.
Jeff Hinson, chairman of the Windstream board of directors, added, “On behalf of the Board, I thank Jeff for his contributions to the company over the past decade. He led the company’s successful spinoff from Alltel Corp. and its transformation from a rural wireline telephone business to a FORTUNE 500 company and nationwide provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions. He also has served as a leading advocate for the telecom industry. Tony Thomas’ telecom experience and in-depth knowledge of Windstream give the Board confidence that he is the right executive to lead the company, position the enterprise and consumer businesses for long-term success and drive revenue growth.”