Board of Directors
Alan L. Wells, age 57, has served as a director since 2010 and is serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is a founding partner of Financial Advisory Partners, LLC, which makes private equity investments and provides investment banking services to companies primarily located in the Midwest. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Iowa Telecommunication Services, Inc. (formerly NYSE: IWA) from 2002 to 2010 and Chairman of its board of directors from 2004 to 2010. He joined Iowa Telecom in 1999 as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in 2002. Prior to joining Iowa Telecom, Mr. Wells was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (NYSE: MEC), a Des Moines, Iowa-based electric and gas utility holding company, from 1997 until 1999. During the same period, Mr. Wells also served as President of MidAmerican’s non-regulated businesses. Mr. Wells held various executive and management positions with MidAmerican, its subsidiaries and its predecessors, from 1993 through 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Wells was with Deloitte Consulting (previously Deloitte & Touche Consulting) and previously held various positions with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and Illinois Power Company. He has been a CPA for over twenty years and is a FINRA-registered investment banker.
Tony Thomas, age 45, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and to the Board on December 11, 2014. He previously held the following positions at Windstream: President-REIT Operations (September to December 2014); Chief Financial Officer (August 2009 to September 2014); Treasurer (May 2012 to August 2013); and Controller (July 2006 to August 2009). Mr. Thomas also served as Controller of Alltel Holding Corp., the predecessor entity to Windstream Holdings, Inc., and held various other leadership positions with Alltel Corporation, a former publicly-traded wireless company, from 1998 to 2006, including Vice President of Investor Relations and Vice President of Southeast Regional Finance. Mr. Thomas joined Alltel after its merger with 360 Communications in 1998. Prior to entering the communications industry, Mr. Thomas was a senior auditor with Ernst & Young LLP, focusing on the telecom practice.
Samuel E. Beall, III, age 66, has served as a director since November 2006 and currently serves on the Compensation Committee. Mr. Beall is Strategic Partner at Arlington Capital Advisors, a boutique investment bank, and is a principal in Beall Investments LLC, a private investment company. Mr. Beall served as chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer of Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE: RT), which owns and operates casual dining restaurants under the Ruby Tuesday brand, from May 1995 to June 2012, and as President of Ruby Tuesday, Inc. from July 2004 to June 2012. Mr. Beall currently serves on the board of directors of Pilot Travel Centers LLC, a private company operating travel centers and travel plazas throughout North America, and Custom Foods of America, Inc., a private company specializing in fresh and easy-to-prepare menu solutions.
Jeannie Diefenderfer, age 56, has served as a director since February 2016 and currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee. She is the founder and CEO of courageNpurpose, LLC, a consulting firm providing advisory services to boards and CEOs in strategic initiatives to drive operational and business efficacy. Previously, she spent over 10 years in executive leadership roles at Verizon Communications, including leading Verizon’s global customer care organization for its largest enterprise customers, serving as Chief Procurement Officer, and as Senior Vice President of Global Engineering & Planning. Ms. Diefenderfer is a member of the boards of directors of MRV Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRV), where she serves as the chair of the compensation committee and a member of the audit and governance committees, and Westell Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: WSTL), where she serves as the chair of the compensation committee and a member of the audit committee. She is also the chair of the Accenture Network Advisory Council.
Jeffrey T. Hinson, age 62, has served as a director since Windstream’s formation in 2006 and is currently a member of the Governance Committee. He was Chairman of the Board from May 2013 to April 2017. Mr. Hinson served on the Audit Committee from 2006 to May 2013 and as Chair of the Audit Committee from May 2010 to May 2013. Mr. Hinson has been the President of YouPlus Media LLC, a video content marketing firm, since June 2009. From July 2007 to July 2009, Mr. Hinson served as the President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Border Media Partners, LLC, a Hispanic-focused radio broadcasting company. Mr. Hinson previously served in a number of roles at Univision Communications Inc., a Spanish language media company, including as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (March 2004 to June 2005) and as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Univision Radio, the radio division of Univision (September 2003 to March 2004). Since 2005, Mr. Hinson has been a director and chairman of the audit committee of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: LYV), a global entertainment company that promotes live music events, operates music venues, sells tickets to entertainment and sporting events, and provides management services to music recording artists. He also serves as a director and member of the audit committee of TiVo Corporation (NASDAQ: TIVO), a provider of subscription-based DVR services and interactive video advertising. Until 2014, Mr. Hinson served as a director, audit committee member and chairman of the nominating and governance committee of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation (NYSE: ACRE), a specialty finance company and REIT focused on originating, investing in and managing middle-market commercial real estate loans and investments.
William G. LaPerch, age 61, has served as a director since September 2014 and has served as Chair of the Compensation Committee since May 2016. Mr. LaPerch has been President of LaPerch Consulting, LLC (a provider of consulting services to private equity firms) from September 2012 to the present. In July 2016, he was appointed executive chairman of Hylan Datacom & Electrical, a provider of specialty contracting services in the New York City region for telecommunications providers and municipal organizations. From 2004 to 2012, Mr. LaPerch served as the President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of AboveNet, Inc., then a publicly traded provider of bandwidth infrastructure services, prior to which he served as Senior Vice President Operations. Mr. LaPerch served in executive management positions at Metromedia Fiber Network (a provider of metro fiber services and predecessor to AboveNet) from 2000 to 2003, several key leadership roles in operations and engineering at MCI Worldcom, Inc. (a global communications company) from 1989 to 2000, and operations and engineering positions at NYNEX Corporation (a regional telephone company) from 1982 to 1989. Mr. LaPerch is currently a member of the board of directors of Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR) where he serves on the compensation committee and as chair of the nominating and governance committee, and a member of the board of directors of several privately held network services and technology companies. From November 2012 to August 2015, Mr. LaPerch served as a member of the board of directors of Glassbridge Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: GLA) (formerly Imation Corp. (NYSE: IMN)), a global scalable storage and data security company. Mr. LaPerch received the CERT Certificate in Cybersecurity Oversight for Corporate Directors, representing completion of a comprehensive program developed by the National Association of Corporate Directors, Ridge Global, and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.