UPDATE: Windstream to Cut 400 Management Jobs, Including Eight in Little Rock

Windstream Corp. of Little Rock said Thursday that it is "restructuring its management ranks to increase the efficiency of decision-making" and will cut about 375 to 400 management positions.

Spokesman David Avery confirmed to ArkansasBusiness.com that Grant Raney, executive vice president of network operations, and Rob Clancy, senior vice president and treasurer, are among eight executives who "have been notified that they will not have roles in the new structure." Also among the eight is Wendy Raney, vice president of customer service operations and wife of Grant Raney.

"These individuals have made considerable contributions to our company's success since our formation. We thank them for their service and wish them the best in their future careers," Avery said in an email. 

The management cuts represent roughly 3 percent of Windstream's total workforce of 14,500, the company said in a news release. The restructuring is expected to be complete in the third quarter. The cuts are expected to result in annualized savings of about $30 million to $40 million.

"Windstream has grown rapidly through acquisition, and it is crucial that our management structure be as simple and as responsive to customers as possible as we continue to build this company for long-term success," Jeff Gardner, president and CEO, said in a news release.

Gardner said the publicly traded telecommunications firm began planning the management review in December. That's when it completed its biggest merger to date, a $2.3 billion acquisition of Paetec Holding Corp. of Fairport, N.Y. That same month, the company announced it would cut 280 jobs -- none in Arkansas -- to trim redundancies in corporate staff positions.

"It will make us more competitive and improve our ability to continue growing while delivering the best possible experience to our customers as well as the greatest value to our shareholders," Gardner said.

Windstream spokesman David Avery said it's too early to know exactly where the management cuts will occur. Windstream's headquarters is in Little Rock, and it has operations in other areas of Pulaski County and in Harrison. The company has about 1,300 workers in Arkansas, with 975 in Pulaski County, he said.

Avery said the company is looking at every layer of management to find ways to get closer to customers, cut the complexity of the organization and operate more efficiently. He said it's unlikely that any "front-line" employees will be affected.

The company said severance benefits and outplacement assistance will be provided to employees who do not have positions in the new structure.

Earlier this month, Windstream reported first-quarter net income that more than doubled from the same time last year, reaching $65 million as the company realized boosts to broadband revenue after its Paetec purchase.

Since 2006, the company has absorbed several businesses, including Valor Telecommunications Enterprises LLC, CT Communications, D&E Communications Inc., Lexcom, NuVox Inc., Iowa Telecommunication Services Inc., Hosted Solutions and Q-Comm Corp.


A conversation with Jeff Gardner on Windstream's growth and a banner 2011.