Frontier CEO named to Forbes Top 50 list

Published 11:42 am Saturday, October 29, 2011

The City of Atmore was host to one of the 50 most powerful women in business, according to Fortune magazine, Wednesday when Frontier Communications Chairman and CEO Maggie Wilderotter paid a visit to the company’s local branch.

Accompanied by Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Daniel McCarthy and Vice President of Commercial Sales Peter B. Hayes, Wilderotter spent the day taking in some of Atmore’s culture, while meeting with local Frontier officers and taking stock of the company’s presence in the local market.

Wilderotter, who has served as Frontier’s CEO since 2004, was named to Fortune’s prestigious list for the third consecutive year in 2011, and said the designation was very special.

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“This is my third year in a row and each year I’ve moved up, so I guess that’s progress,” she said.

Wilderotter appeared at No. 37 in the 2011 list, moving up from No. 50 in 2009 and No. 40 in 2010.

Wilderotter said this year’s ranking also stands out because of a family connection to the list.

“This year is extra special for me because my sister, Denise Morrison, was also named to the list. She’s the CEO of Campbell’s Soup.”
Wilderotter said visiting areas like Atmore is one of the ways she believes she can help Frontier continue to succeed. She makes it a point, she said, to visit each of the 27 states her company serves.

“I try to get around to meet with all of our employees every couple of years in each market,” Wilderotter said. “I wanted to come down and spend some time with our employees and some time with some of our key customers, and just get a sense of how we’re doing and what we can do better.”

With the Atmore area having suffered from several Frontier outages over the last few months, Wilderotter said she is dedicated to constantly improving services and demonstrating why the company is the largest communications provider for rural areas in the country.
Wilderotter said the Atmore area is a unique location that deserves special attention.

“There are some areas that we serve here that are still economically challenged, with high unemployment,” she said. “But there are bright spots, especially with the tribe and a lot of the work they are doing from an economic development perspective. What I’m trying to make sure we do is provide the right kind of telecommunications infrastructure, so that businesses can thrive and do well here. So Atmore can attract more people to come live here, start businesses or move businesses here.”

If her past is any indication, Wilderotter certainly possess the skills and experience needed to improve and maintain Frontier’s hold on the local telecommunications market. Prior to her seven years with Frontier, Wilderotter has served as the president and CEO of Wink Communications, executive vice president of national operations for AT&T Wireless’ aviation operations and senior vice president of McCaw Cellular Communications Inc.

Wilderotter also serves on the boards of Xerox Corporation and Proctor & Gamble Co. She also sits on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations. Wilderotter is a member of the Directorship 100, a list compiled by the National Association of Corporate Directors of those having a profound impact on corporate governance. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of BoardroomIQ and a member of the WomeonCorporateDirectors Global CEO Task Force.

Wilderotter said her background in different areas of communications serves her well in her current position with Frontier.
“I think careers are a journey,” she said. “For me, I’ve always worked in telecommunications technology, media and entertainment. As I’ve looked at how Frontier has had to change over the years that I have been here, it’s really been about pulling together all of those types of capabilities to give customers a great experience.”

In 2010 Wilderotter was bestowed with yet another responsibility, being appointed as vice chair for the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee by President Obama.

“It’s been a privilege,” she said. “There are 35 CEOs on the committee. I work with the committee to provide recommendations to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense on what we need to do in this country to keep our networks safe. That’s from natural disasters. It’s also from terrorism and from hacking. To make sure we can establish standards, so that when there are critical crises in the country we can prioritize our networks together to focus on helping people during those crises.”

Wilderotter said her hopes for Atmore’s market include continued growth and improvements.

“We take great pride to make sure that if you decide to live in a small town or a small city in the United States, that you have the exact same services as if you decide to live in New York,” she said. “You can have the freedom and flexibility for your lifestyle and your livelihood, to be anywhere you want to be.”

Wilderotter said another positive aspect of the Frontier company is their contributions to the U.S. job market.

“We’re 100 percent U.S. based workforce,” she said. “We have no jobs overseas. We priority hire veterans that come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. So we’re providing jobs. We’re doing the right things to make America healthy. So if people in Atmore support us, their supporting jobs in their community and jobs in their country.”

Wilderotter said she believes the company’s success will continue to hinge on supporting the communities in their markets.

“We invest in our communities,” she said. “We’re very big on local engagement and supporting the communities where we live and work and you would see us continue to do that, and for that to be our philosophy as a company.”