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Windstream Channel Chief: Partners Eager for New, Post-Bankruptcy Chapter

Bankruptcy with Gavel

Windstream and its partners are looking forward to a “brighter tomorrow” as it completes the final steps to emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy.

That’s according to Matt Milliron, Windstream’s channel chief and head of strategic channels. He has been in this role since November.

Windstream Enterprise hired Milliron last year as the successor-in-waiting, allowing Curt Allen, previously president of strategic channels, to transition into an advisory role. Before becoming channel chief, Milliron led development of the channel integration program.

Earlier this month, Windstream announced two key agreements that help it move closer to exiting bankruptcy. It reached a settlement with Uniti Group, to which it had owed a $650 million yearly lease for accessing network assets. The settlement was reached just before the issue would have gone to trial.

Windstream's Matt Milliron

Windstream’s Matt Milliron

In addition, Windstream announced that its first lien creditors have agreed to its financial restructuring plan. The plan is said to reduce Windstream’s debt by $4 billion.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Milliron talks about what he’s been up to since becoming channel chief and what partners can expect when Windstream emerges from bankruptcy.

Channel Partners: Now that the Uniti issue has been settled, is there any latest information that partners need to know regarding the chapter 11 process? Is emerging from chapter 11 coming soon?

Matt Milliron: We are thrilled to be moving forward into a brighter tomorrow. Our leadership has done an excellent job securing our financial future, as well as strengthening our ability to service both our customers and our partners during the technology shift that is occurring in our space. This settlement allows us to finalize our go-forward business model as well as file [our] reorganization [plan] to emerge from restructuring directionally during the middle part of this year.

When we do emerge from restructuring, we will deliver on our commitment over the past year to be a business with greatly enhanced financial flexibility, as well as a strong plan of investment into transformative solutions. It’s an exciting time to be part of Windstream. It’s an exciting time for partners to continue to build on the momentum that they have had historically and currently.

CP: What all have you been up to since becoming channel chief last November?

MM: The focus since assuming the role in [the fourth quarter] has been on ensuring that our channel integration approach has been successfully launched across the nation. This was developed as the go-forward, go-to-market strategy for our channel program. So our channel leaders and our peers have a great deal of passion for the success of this approach. It’s one thing to discuss how we want a specific thing or specific program to work; it’s a completely different thing to educate, construct and deploy the framework that affords for scalability and embraces the customer and the partner experience. So a big portion of our time inside our channel program since the fourth quarter has been rolling out this program nationally. However, aside from deepening our reach within channel integration, our team has been laser focused on three main objectives. The first being recruiting. onboarding and developing our newly constructed national business development teams. The second is preparing to launch our brand new partner portal that we’re extremely proud of and excited to get into the hands of our partners. And the third, we’ve started to evaluate a new learning management system tool that will cater to …

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