Windstream Channel Vet Promoted to Executive Sales VP

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in February and March.**

Windstream didn’t have to look far to select its new executive vice president of enterprise sales.

Windstream's Jeff HoweJeff Howe, former channel chief at the communications giant, has taken over for John Leach, who left the company “to pursue other career opportunities.” Windstream was not more specific about Leach’s departure.

“I am confident that Jeff will do a fantastic job leading our Enterprise sales organization,” said David Works, President of Windstream Business Enterprise. “Jeff is a strong people and organization leader. He has a proven sales leadership track record and a deep understanding of our industry. Jeff will be an insightful voice as we chart our path going forward and I look forward to him joining the enterprise leadership team.”

Most recently, Howe has been serving as president of Windstream’s east and central sales regions. He also was responsible for the company’s overall channel strategy and national accounts, as well as federal government sales and support. Before joining Windstream in 2007, Howe held leadership roles at One Communications, Veramark Technologies, Level 3 Communications and Motorola.

The change in leadership became effective May 5.

Former Windstream Executive Sales VP John LeachEarlier this year, Windstream named Jason Dishon to take on the role of channel chief, a formal position the company did not have for almost two years, instead choosing to keep Howe in a channel oversight role during that time. Dishon told Channel Partners’ Kelly Teal at the Spring 2015 Channel Partners Conference & Expo that he was looking forward to helping the company put a larger emphasis on dedicated channel support in the years to come.

Howe led Windstream’s channel during a significant time of transition for the company, shifting from a focus on consumer services to what it described in Channel Partners’ visit to the company’s headquarters two years ago as “becoming a premier enterprise services provider.” Sales of business services – including cloud and data center services; voice and data; managed IP networking; security and more – have grown steadily over the last few years, helping to offset declines in legacy-services sales.

The company bounced back after a rough 2014 that saw it lose money, posting a profit of $5.3 million in the period of January through March. That beat analysts’ estimates.

Howe is just one of a handful of significant personnel changes for Windstream in the last few months; the biggest happened in December, when CEO Jeff Gardner stepped aside to make way for Tony Thomas, the man behind the company’s real-estate investment trust (REIT) – a spinoff of certain assets finalized last month that’s designed to improve the company’s bottom line.

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