Fusion Connect’s New CEO: Updated Go-To-Market Strategy Coming



Fusion Connect‘s new CEO has a hefty to-do list. Updating the company’s go-to-market strategy and sharpening the company’s focus are high on that list.

Last month, Fusion named Brian Crotty its new chief executive, just a few months after the company emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Fusion Connect's Brian Crotty

Fusion Connect’s Brian Crotty

Crotty most recently was chief commercial officer for Sungard AS. He succeeded Kevin Brand, Fusion’s interim CEO since last October. Crotty has nearly 30 years of experience leading major organizations in the communications industry.

Fusion filed chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer after its acquisitions of MegaPath and Birch Communications’ cloud and business-services business failed to meet performance projections. It eliminated about $400 million of its long-term debt in the reorganization.

Prior to his stint at Sungard AS, Crotty held executive roles with Comstar Technologies and Windstream Enterprise. He also was COO of Broadview Networks, which Windstream acquired. Crotty led Broadview’s transformation to a national UCaaS cloud solutions provider.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Crotty tells us what it means to become CEO of a company that went through bankruptcy. He also lays out his plans for Fusion’s go-to-market strategy and other plans for the months ahead.

We have edited the Q&A for length and clarity.

This is a transcript of Crotty’s appearance on the Channel Partners podcast, Coffee with Craig and Kevin. Listen to the podcast.

Channel Partners: Why did you want to take this role with Fusion?

Brian Crotty: It’s an amazing career opportunity. First off, the top job of several hundred-million-dollar companies don’t come along too often. But for me this is very hand in glove. I’ve been in the competitive communications industry since its inception in the mid-1990s. I was co-founder of a CLEC in Wisconsin back in 1996 and I’ve essentially been in competitive the whole time. So I definitely know the space. I know the investors in Fusion pretty well. I also know what it takes to make Fusion a long-term success.

As I was doing my diligence on Fusion, Fusion was a combination of several companies that came together: Birch, MegaPath and Fusion, as well as 20-plus other companies that were acquired over the last several years. There’s an amazing collection of assets that make up Fusion. And that’s where I look to say. “OK, there’s a lot of really good stuff. I think if we can figure out how to bring it together as one, we could really be a powerhouse.”

We’ve got a full nationwide IP backbone with well over 100 interconnection points to pretty much connect to any of our customers anywhere they are — and anywhere they want to go. We’ve got a full suite of enterprise application-layer services. Our UCaaS solutions, our security services, our managed services and multiple SD-WAN solutions on top, not to mention what many of our partners know, that we have a robust division for our national POTS customers as well.

CP: How will your previous experience come into play in this new role?

BC: If I go back a couple of roles, I was the COO of Broadview Networks. That was 17-18 years before we ended up selling to Windstream in 2017. Even at Broadview, I had responsibility for the entire profit and loss, and all strategy — and really drove that business. That started as a traditional competitive local carrier that offered voice and data services. And as the market kept shifting, we as an organization had to …

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