Sterling's role – vice president of dealer sales – was eliminated on June 30. John Leach, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Windstream, said Windstream channel management is structured by region and that Sterling's job "was outside of that." So, Jeff Howe, president of the central region for Windstream, has taken on Sterling's responsibilities; he is a senior vice president and that's part of Windstream's aim – to put senior executives closer to the customer, Leach said.
"He is going to be the new voice of the [Windstream] channel," Leach said of Howe.
Sterling had served as head of Windstream's channel partner program since Windstream bought NuVox in 2010. Sterling previously had led NuVox's agent initiatives. Howe, meanwhile, held a senior role at PAETEC, before it was acquired by Windstream, and has worked closely with the channel over the years.
On a personal note, Leach said he, like Windstream's agents and a number of folks in the channel, will miss Sterling.
"We are happy with the role Dan did," Leach said. "Dan's very well-respected in the channel and we thank him for his service. ...Agents understand why these decisions are made and even though they think highly of Dan, they know we will continue to support them."
Channel Partners readers voted Sterling Channel Executive of the Year in 2010; he also was a finalist for the award in 2011 and 2012.