Alan L. Wells, age 57, has served as a director since 2010 and is a member of the Audit and Governance Committees. As of May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, he will serve 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.
Carol B. Armitage, age 59, has served as a director since September 2007, and is a current member of the Compensation and Audit Committees. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to her election at the Annual Meeting, Ms. Armitage will serve on the Audit Committee. Ms. Armitage has served as a telecommunications consultant since 1998. From 1995 to 1997 she served as Senior Vice President Technology and Strategy at General Instrument. Prior to 1995, she held various management and engineering positions during sixteen years of service with Bell Laboratories and Network Systems (which later became Lucent). From 2000 until August 2015, Ms. Armitage was a member of, and held various leadership positions on, the board of directors of SCALA, Inc., a provider of digital signage and advertising management solutions, including as board chairman from March 2010 to March 2012, and vice chairman from 2000 to February 2010, and again from March 2012 to September 2015. From 2002 to 2004, Ms. Armitage served as chairman of the board and on the audit committee of YDI Wireless (now known as Proxim Wireless Corporation), then a public company engaged in the development and provisioning of wireless fiber technologies.
Samuel E. Beall, III, age 66, has served as a director since November 2006 and currently serves on the Compensation and Governance Committees. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, Mr. Beall will serve 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 on the Governance Committee. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to her election at the Annual Meeting, Ms. Diefenderfer will serve as the 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 as Chairman of the Board since May 2013. 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. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, Mr. Hinson will serve on the Governance Committee. 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 currently serves as the Chair of the Compensation Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, he will continue to serve as the Chair of the Compensation Committee. 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.
Larry Laque, age 58, has served as a director since February 2016. Mr. Laque currently serves as a member of the Audit Committee and he will continue to serve as a member of the Audit Committee subject to his election at the Annual Meeting. Mr. Laque is Executive Vice President Global Real Estate and Facilities for Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA). In addition to his current position, he has held key leadership roles at Discovery during the last 14 years, including Executive Vice President and Co-CIO and Co-Head of Enterprise Operational Services from 2010 to 2015, and in executive positions in the IT organization from 2002 to 2010. Prior to joining Discovery in 2002, he held several leadership positions in network planning and implementation, operations and customer service at MCI Worldcom, Inc. and MCI Communications from 1982 to 2002.
Dr. Shimer, age 64, was appointed to the Board on March 1, 2017 in connection with Windstream's merger with EarthLink. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to her election at the Annual Meeting, Dr. Shimer will serve as member of the Governance Committee. She previously served on EarthLink's board of directors from July 2013 to the closing of the merger, and as chair of the EarthLink board. She is currently a private investor and has 30 years of product development experience, including many years with major communications companies. From March 2007 to April 2012, Dr. Shimer served as Chief Executive Officer of Welch Allyn, Inc., a manufacturer of frontline medical products and solutions, having served on the board of directors beginning in July 2002. Previously, she was President and Chief Executive Officer of Vocera Communications, Inc., a provider of wireless communications systems, also serving on the board of directors. She also has served as general manager at 3Com Corporation and Motorola and has been a product development leader at Motorola and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Dr. Shimer currently serves as a director of Netgear, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR), a home and small business network solutions provider, and Halyard Health, Inc. (NYSE: HYH), a medical technology company. She previously served as the chairwoman of Empire State Development Corp., the State of New York's economic development organization.
Mr. Stoll, age 46, was appointed to the Board on March 1, 2017 in connection with Windstream's merger with EarthLink. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, Mr. Stoll will serve on the Audit Committee. Mr. Stoll previously served on EarthLink's board of directors beginning in April 2016. From October 2014 to March 2015, Mr. Stoll served as Chief Financial Officer at Anaplan, Inc., a privately-held provider of a cloud-based business modeling and planning platform for sales operations and finance. From August 2008 to July 2013, Mr. Stoll served as Vice President, Worldwide Sales Finance at Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). From 2004 to 2008, he served in various capacities at CA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CA), a systems software provider, most recently as Corporate Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller. From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Stoll served as Vice President, Technology Equity Research at Julius Baer Investment Management, a Swiss banking group. Additionally, Mr. Stoll serves as a member of the board of directors of Arista Networks, Inc. (NYSE: ANET), a computer networking company headquartered in Santa Clara, California and is a board member of several private companies.
Michael G. Stoltz, age 66, has served as a director since September 2014. Mr. Stoltz currently serves as chair of the Audit Committee and will remain in this role subject to his election at the Annual Meeting. He was an audit partner of Ernst & Young LLP ("E&Y") from 2002 to 2014, primarily focusing on the communications, media and entertainment industries. He led E&Y's Communications Advisory Services Group from 2002 until mid-2004, which focused on providing advisory services to communications companies. Prior to joining E&Y, Mr. Stoltz was a partner with Arthur Andersen where he provided audit, finance and specialized project services to clients in the energy, governmental and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Stoltz currently serves on the board of trustees of the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Mr. Turek, age 64, joined the Board on March 1, 2017 in connection with Windstream's merger with EarthLink. Effective May 1, 2017, and subject to his election at the Annual Meeting, he will be a member of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Turek served on EarthLink's board of directors beginning in October 2015. Mr. Turek has served as Executive Chairman at Ascentis Corporation, a provider of human resources software and solutions, since 2011. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX), a publicly-traded, leading provider of payroll and human resource services solutions, from October 2002 to May 2009. In 2009, Mr. Turek co-founded Mykonos Software, Inc., a provider of fraud and theft security solutions for internet websites. Mr. Turek currently serves on the board of directors of Spark Networks, Inc. (NYSEMKT: LOV) and BlueTie, Inc. and previously served on the board of directors of Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc. (formerly NYSE: GWAY) from 2005 to 2013 and of Mykonos Software, Inc. from 2009 to 2012.