Zayo Fills Channel Chief Seat With Scott Forbush, Former Electric Lightwave Channels VP

In a highly anticipated move for partners, Zayo Group Holdings named a new channel chief on Tuesday, former vice president of indirect sales for Electric Lightwave Scott Forbush. The appointment will unify the newly-acquired Electric Lightwave channel program and Zayo's own channel community.

Forbush told CRN that in his new role, he'll focus on strengthening relationships between Zayo and the channel community by building a more "proactive and engaged" indirect team, as opposed to the provider's "reactive" team of the past. Forbush's appointment, coupled with its Electric Lightwave assets, will also bolster Zayo's presence on the West Coast.

Zayo, based in Boulder, Colo. in November 2016 announced intent to acquire infrastructure and telecom services provider Electric Lightwave for $1.42 billion. The deal closed on March 1, but the two channel programs have since remained separate entities.

[Related: Zayo Is Acquiring Irish Telco Assets; Plans To Work On Partner Relationships]

Sponsored post

Master agent Telarus, a West Coast-based Zayo and Electric Lightwave partner headquartered in Sandy, Utah, said that when Electric Lightwave was acquired by Zayo, Electric Lightwave master agent partners were not automatically rolled into the new program. Master agents were told that the two programs were being reorganized, said Patrick Oborn, co-founder and vice president of Telarus.

"If there is one thing this industry hates, it's uncertainty," Oborn said. "Agents want to know what to expect now and as far into the future as possible, and with Scott now at the helm, those of us who have worked with him are breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing that 'one of our own' is in power."

Combining the two separate channel programs will bring together experience and resources, Forbush said. Following the close of the acquisition, Zayo has retained talent from both its own organization and Electric Lightwave and plans to combine the best parts of the two channel strategies to form the new Zayo channel program.

"I think with naming me as channel chief and the strong presence in the channel that Electric Lightwave had shows the commitment from Zayo that we are really engaging the channel and hope to drive a tremendous amount of business through the channel," he said.

Telarus' Oborn said that Forbush was a dynamic and hands-on leader during his time at Electric Lightwave, keeping the company " a step above the rest" in terms of strategy, support, responsiveness, compensation, and service delivery for partners.

"[Forbush] will do a terrific job organizing the Zayo channel and at the same time, educating those in Zayo management who may not understand the channel that well, so that it's a win-win for everyone," Oborn said.

Forbush said that there will be some realignments within Zayo's indirect executive team in an effort to free up channel managers to more proactively and strategically engage with partners.

"Our intention is to get out there educate partners, and assist them in leveraging all the new fiber assets we have nationwide, he said.

The acquisition of Electric Lightwave has given Zayo 8,100 route miles of long haul fiber and 4,000 miles of dense metro fiber across the West Coast market, including within the Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif., Salt Lake City, Spokane, Wash. and Boise, Idaho areas. The combined footprint also includes on-net connectivity to more than 3,100 businesses and 100 data centers.

Zayo also announced a new president and chief operating officer on Tuesday. Industry veteran Andrew Crouch will be taking over for Zayo’s current president and chief operating officer, Chris Morley. Prior to his appointment with Zayo, Crouch served as regional president of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Broomfield, Colo.-based service provider Level 3 Communications. Crouch's start date will be April 27, according to Zayo.