CenturyLink CEO to Retire Sooner Than Expected

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03/06/2018 | 04:42 pm
Glen Post

By Imani Moise

Telecom provider CenturyLink Inc. said Tuesday its chief executive will retire earlier than originally planned and will hand the reins of the company to an investor favorite.

Glen Post III, who is set to step down at the annual shareholder meeting in May, will be succeeded by Jeff Storey, CenturyLink chief operating officer and former Level 3 Communications Inc. CEO. Mr. Post had scheduled his retirement for Jan. 1, 2019.

When CenturyLink acquired Level 3 last year, activist investor Keith Meister pressured CenturyLink to replace its management team with Level 3 executives, citing weak execution under Mr. Post. Mr. Meister's Corvex Management LP had a 3.8% stake in the combined company as of November.

CenturyLink, based in Monroe, La., has transformed from a small rural phone provider to a corporate-focused internet and phone-service provider with customers in more than 60 countries.

During Mr. Post's tenure as CEO, which began in 1991, CenturyLink's annual sales have grown from $281 million to $24 billion on a pro forma basis.

The so-called wireline business of running telephone and internet lines has suffered from brutal competition over the past 15 years, hurt by plummeting prices for network bandwidth and high capital costs. CenturyLink has looked to cost cuts and acquisitions to remain competitive.

Last month CenturyLink reported its first increase in annual revenue since 2012, according to FactSet, and offered a bullish 2018 outlook.

Shares rose 1% to $18.01 during morning trading. The stock has fallen 23% over the past year while the S&P 500 has risen 15%.

Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications

This article was corrected at 1046 a.m. ET because the original misspelled CEO Glen Post III's first name as Glenn.

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