Earthlink Gets New CEO, euNetworks Hires a CFO

December 23rd, 2013 by · 16 Comments

Two key pre-Christmas executive appointments were announced this morning, one down in Atlanta and the other over in London.

Earthlink has a new CEO lined up.  The current CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board Rolla Huff is retiring from that role as of January 13, 2014, although he is staying on as Chairman of the Board for a transition.  The new President and CEO will be Joseph F. Eazor, who been EVP and CEO of Global Sales and Customer Operations for EMC and had previously held leadership roles at HP and EDS. Earthlink’s choice of someone with a systems-integration and customer operations background surely reflects Earthlink’s continuing transition toward the managed IT, the cloud, and the enterprise market in general.  Huff has led Earthlink since 2007, when he took over to lead the company out of its earlier failed attempts to leapfrog out of the dial-up business.

euNetworks, meanwhile, is bringing in a Chief Financial Officer.  Joachime Piroth will take over the company’s financial reins on New Year’s Day, 2014. His industry experience includes stints at Mannesmann, LambdaNet, and Versatel, while he was most recently Group CFO of zanox Group. euNetworks’ scope has been expanding as it expands its geographical reach and adds scale across its markets.  Bringing in a CFO reflects the parallel growing complexity of the finance side.

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Categories: CLEC · Cloud Computing · Jobs · Metro fiber

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16 Comments So Far

  • Anonymous says:

    Whats the over under on the CFO getting replaced? i’d give it 95% that a new CFO is inserted in the next 90 days.

  • Fred says:

    I would say made to retire after all the losses the past 2 years.

  • Barney says:

    Fred you are correct. I’m surprised he wasn’t fired a long time ago b/c of his egomaniacal leadership skills which in reality he is extremely insecure

    • Grant Lewis says:

      Barney – do you know Rolla? Have you worked for him? If so please elaborate. I’d say from afar he’s tried to do something with ELNK that at the onset was a extremely difficult challenge with ton’s of change. That said I love all the monday morning quarterbacks out there – you know the people who know how to run a company and would never make the mistakes that others do – funny thing about some of those people is they don’t stand a chance in hell to become CEO of their own dog kennels!!!!

      Above aside, when there’s change there are generally three categories of people (1) people fear it and generally run away from it, (2) people dig in and fight from making it happen and (3) people embrace and try to make it happen. It sounds like you must be in the first two categories ….

      Either way whoever the CEO is has a lot of work to make ELNK worth something. Again, from an outsider perspective, i can’t imagine the challenges that the current leadership faces but they appear to have a decent momentum in key growth areas so I am sure they will focus on that to successfully complete the transformation.

  • Mike Jones says:

    Well…hopefully they stop laying off people (especially before the holidays)…I’ve had a lots of friends get the pink slip within the last few weeks.

  • Fred says:

    Rolla’s problem was and still is that he bought 2 CLECs without any idea of what they are and what they do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually Rolla’s problem wasn’t that he bought 2 CLEC’s without any idea of what they are and do … remember he’s in the telecom space and once founded and sold a CLEC as well as was the CFO for another CLEC. Rolla’s problem was he didn’t change the leadership team fast enough to keep pace with the change of the business. If Rolla is guilty of anything he is guilty of not changing the CFO, CIO and or COO fast enough. He of course made a few bad hiring decisions with a few sales leaders … but hey who’s counting?

  • Fred says:

    Actually he decided to completely change the focus of the company to IT and managed services which really have nothing to do with what the CLECS do. Also did not focus on the CLEC customers and churn went crazy and new sales couldn’t keep up. Also laying off all the people at the CLECS that knew what they were doing also contributed to high churn.

    • Grant Lewis says:

      I think change is inevitable in any sector … especially in the CLEC sector. Its pretty clear most CLECs except a very small number are not growing at all and are either out of business, merged to get scale and or going to be sold/bought and or merged.

      If Rolla made a mistake he likely didn’t anticipate the magnitude of integration – not that retaining CLEC people were critical. I think a combination of both is likely partly to blame here … but in the end had the integration of the multiple companies occurred more rapidly we would be having a different discussion i think. One that was oriented towards efficiency and scale as opposed to decline and lack of progress towards integration.

      There’s a golden opportunity here, however, for the new CEO coming in. He obviously must understand the future isn’t a road towards being a CLEC again but rather accelerating the growth potential of the IT services business. He’s going to have to make some tough decisions and then expedite the progress accordingly. I think only a fool rushes in and thinks nothing is wrong and i don’t think thats the case here. He’s clearly going to have to dramatically change the map.

  • Grant Lewis says:

    I have to admit this stock is not a poster child for well performing investments but since it has been performing horribly since this new great CEO has come in. In fact you can say what you want about Rolla Huff but its clear judging by his prior performance and the stock itself there was focused energy on ensuring that investors had a reason to remain invested in the ELNK stock long term. I think its obvious that new CEO Joe Eazors performance on the last finance call set the tone for investors not having a reason to remain confident and stay long in the stock.

    I don’t think you can blame the new CEO entirely rather one has to place clear blame on their shameful CFO and completely inept investor relations teams that allowed one of the worst performances on an investor call ever recorded. More importantly the softballs that were thrown to the new CEO were not only completed missed but its shocking that others like Icahn haven’t swept in to clean house.

    Its going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. I bet this company is headed for bankruptcy if they can’t get their act together quickly.

  • schmuckinsurance says:

    Looks like GTT just filed a 200m shelf. Rob, Grant or anyone else think they are the buyers of one of the industry laggards? If so would ELNK be a bridge too far?

  • anon says:

    perhaps a little too far. the shelf is worth 200m. the amount to take out elnk is north near 400m. maybe a little too far.

  • JRC says:

    Whats up with the recent filing for cash retention of the sales leader? topelsak? is the place falling apart? are others leaving? can’t believe this CEO has’t removed the HR lady from running service delviery and care and repair. Goofy

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