news

New Frontier Communications CEO Led Significant Vodafone UK ‘Turnaround’

Hired

Frontier Communications has named a new CEO in conjunction with its post-bankruptcy plans.

Nick Jeffery, a 30-year telecommunications veteran who led what he called a “turnaround” at Vodafone UK, will lead Frontier in 2021. He’ll assume responsibilities on March 1 after his tenure at Vodafone UK ends. He currently serves as CEO for Vodafone UK.

Jeffery, Nick_Frontier

Frontier’s Nick Jeffery

Bernie Han, who took the helm of the company in 2019, is stepping aside for Jeffery.

Frontier had formed a four-person search committee as a result of the company’s restructuring support agreement. The committee recommended Jeffery, whom the board of directors unanimously approved. The company projects that it will exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy some time in early 2021. At least 10 states have signed off on its restructuring plan, which trims approximately $10 billion in debt.

“We are now at a point of natural evolution in our transformation and, following a rigorous process, the search committee concluded that Nick is the right CEO to lead Frontier through its next phase of investment and profitable growth,” said Robert Schriesheim, chairman of the board’s finance committee.

Background

Jeffery has worked at Vodafone for 16 years, having set up Vodafone Global Enterprise, developed the company’s IoT practice. He said in a LinkedIn post that he spent the last four years making Vodafone UK ” leaner, more profitable [and] more innovative.” The organization also decreased its operating expenses and improved its net promoter score.

Light Reading’s Ian Morris writes that Vodafone UK improved its service quality reputation under Jeffery thanks to increased network speeds and new 5G services. However, Morris said Jeffery will fight an uphill battle to overcome Frontier’s “dreadful historical reputation for customer service and network quality.”

Analyst Kester Mann also gave Jeffery high marks.

Jeffery said he looks forward to meeting employees as he makes the transition.

“Frontier owns a unique set of assets and maintains a competitive market position. My immediate focus will be on serving our customers as we enhance the network through investments in our existing footprint and in adjacent markets while building operational excellence across the organization,” he said.

Jeffery’s Predecessor

Han, Bernard_Frontier

Frontier’s Bernie Han

Schriesheim thanked Han for leading the company amid both the bankruptcy and the pandemic.

“Bernie has demonstrated his world-class skills as a CEO operator, managing large-scale complexity with a relentless focus on driving performance and emphasizing accountability,” Schriesheim said. “His contributions have helped to reposition Frontier as a stronger, more resilient business, and we appreciate his willingness to guide the CEO transition and remain on the Board through transition.”

Han will continue to work with the Frontier board of directors until March 1. He thanked Frontier employees for supporting each other and their customers.

“There is still important work to do in unlocking Frontier’s full potential, and I am excited to facilitate the transition and pass the CEO baton to someone with Nick’s outstanding track record. I want to again thank the entire Frontier team for their support as we see the Chapter 11 process through to completion,” Han said.

Frontier will also appoint John Stratton as the executive chairman of its board of directors. Creditors tapped the longtime Verizon veteran as a board observer in May. He’ll assume his new position when Frontier emerges from bankruptcy. He praised Nick Jeffery as “the ideal CEO to take Frontier to the next level.”

“Throughout his career, he’s demonstrated a keen ability to revitalize the organizations he leads, delivering operational and financial improvement while relentlessly focusing on the needs of his customers,” Stratton said. “These skills will be critical on Frontier’s path to drive operational efficiency, deliver an exceptional customer experience and achieve profitable growth. I look forward to collaborating with Nick as I assume my duties as executive chairman.”

Jeffery will officially leave Vodafone UK on Feb. 15. Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s group chief commercial operations strategy officer, will replace him as CEO.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The ID is: 143056