Jeff Storey to retire as Lumen Technologies CEO, Kate Johnson to take over

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Jeff Storey to retire as Lumen Technologies CEO, Kate Johnson to take over

Lumen Technologies recently announced that president and CEO, Jeff Storey will be retiring after a forty-year career, effective November 7. Kate Johnson, a technology executive who specializes in leading digital and business transformations to drive growth, will take over for him. To ensure a smooth transition, Storey will remain with the company until December 31, 2022.

“Kate’s appointment and the strategic transition announced today are the culmination of a succession plan that Jeff and the board have been engaged in for the past several years,” said T. Michael Glenn, chairman of Lumen’s Board of Directors. “We are confident she is the right leader to take the reins at this important moment in Lumen’s history. Kate is an inspiring and motivational leader who is known for identifying and creating growth. She is the ideal CEO for Lumen.”

Lumen notes that Johnson served as president of Microsoft U.S., overseeing the company’s sales, services marketing and operations, and note the division nearly doubled enterprise revenue during her four-year tenure.

Prior to that, she was executive vice president and corporate officer at GE, the SVP for North America Technology and Government Consulting at Oracle, and vice president, Global Services and Strategic Accounts at Red Hat.

Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School in Pennsylvania.

Johnson stated, “I am proud to take on the CEO role and eager to advance the strategy Jeff and the team have created. Lumen has made significant progress strengthening its balance sheet, expanding its fiber footprint and enhancing its portfolio of digital capabilities. I’m looking forward to leading this great company through its next chapter and helping customers leverage the Lumen platform to power amazing digital world experiences.”

Jeff Storey has been President and CEO of Lumen since 2017, but has been with the company altogether for nine years.

“It has been my great honor and privilege to lead Lumen Technologies for the past four years,” said Storey. “I am proud of what we have accomplished together and I am confident that Lumen is well positioned for continued success under Kate’s leadership.”

Lumen Technologies provides a complete portfolio of network, edge, security and communication solutions to customers worldwide. Lumen has more than 170,000 employees in 60 countries and serves customers in over 350 markets.

In a LinkedIn post, Johnson said, “I have had the pleasure of doing business with Lumen in the past, and I have been impressed with the company’s advanced technology and insightful, customer-oriented people. What’s more, I have observed the key cultural ingredients necessary to drive change: a willingness to learn, collaborate, and be vulnerable. As we continue Lumen’s great transformation journey, these enduring qualities will be essential for our success.”

Analysis

Lumen is a telecom company that, like many other competitors, is seeking to provide enterprises with more services up the stack from pure connectivity services. Recently, it has also been shedding some assets. In 2021, the company announced it was selling off its Latin American business interests for $2.7B to Stonepeak and sold ILEC assets in 20 US states to Apollo Capital for $7.5B.

Lumen is now an enterprise-focused business with its consumer and enterprise broadband revenues only making up about 20% of its turnover. Johnson will need to continue to talk about the company’s strategy for hybrid cloud computing, including the various edge computing and edge content delivery services that are crucial for convincing customers to leverage its capabilities — and for investors to pay attention to its growth story.

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