Paul Sunu

Windstream announced that Paul H. Sunu has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, succeeding Tony Thomas, who has decided to leave the company after 17 years.

Sunu, who has been Windstream’s chairman since 2020, will retain that position while taking on the president and CEO duties. As CEO, he is expected to focus on the company’s strategy, improving customer service, and directing Windstream’s next phase of growth.

During Thomas’ tenure, Windstream acquired, merged with and integrated several companies, restructured under Chapter 11 and launched its fiber transformation.

“I am proud of what we have achieved at Windstream,” Thomas said in a prepared statement. “I thank the board for their support and remain confident that the company is on the right course.”

Elliott Investment Management, OakTree Capital Management, PIMCO and other principal investors own Windstream.

Sunu’s experience in the industry includes 27 years in telecom, focused on rural telecommunications. Among his accomplishments are “achieving strategic objectives and positioning wireline communications companies for long-term growth,” Windstream said in today’s announcement. He has previously served in senior leadership roles at several companies, including FairPoint Communications, Electric Lightwave, Hargray Communications Group Inc., Hawaiian Telcom Inc. and Madison River Communications.

He was part of a full slate of new board members when he joined Windstream.

“Paul is especially well suited to step into the role of CEO. He has deeply relevant industry experience, he knows Windstream well, and he is a proven leader with a strong record of moving fast and delivering long-term value. The board is fully aligned in its belief that now is the right time for Paul to take the reins and lead the company forward,” Johannes Weber, Elliot portfolio manager, said in a prepared statement.

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