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Lumen Technologies Names Microsoft U.S. Leader As CEO; Jeff Storey To Retire

Gina Narcisi

Kate Johnson has been appointed president, CEO and a member of Lumen’s board of directors effective Nov. 7. The company’s longtime telecom CEO, Jeff Storey, is set to retire by year’s end.

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Kate Johnson

Service provider giant Lumen Technologies, formerly CenturyLink, announced a CEO transition Tuesday.

Tech veteran Kate Johnson has been appointed president, CEO and a member of Lumen’s board of directors effective Nov. 7, the Monroe, La.-based company said.

Johnson will succeed Jeff Storey, Lumen’s president and CEO, who is retiring after a 40-year career in telecommunications and tech.

Storey will remain with Lumen until Dec. 31 as the company transitions to its new leadership, the company said.

[Related: Lumen CEO Jeff Storey: We're 'Revving Up' Our Growth Engine]

Storey took over for then-CenturyLink CEO Glen Post in 2018 when Post announced his retirement following the CenturyLink/Level 3 merger. Storey had served as Level 3’s CEO for four years prior to the merger. He joined Level 3 in 2008 as the company’s COO. Before that, Storey held leadership positions at several telecom companies during his career, including CEO of Tulsa, Okla.-based WilTel Communications.

Johnson, a technology leader of nearly 30 years, specializes in leading digital and business transformations to drive growth, according to Lumen. She has held leadership roles across a variety of Fortune 100 companies including Oracle and General Electric, as well as other tech firms, such as Red Hat. Most recently, Johnson served as president of Microsoft U.S., overseeing the company’s sales, services marketing and operations. During her four years in the role, she led the U.S. division through a cultural transformation while nearly doubling enterprise revenue, Lumen said in a statement.

Lumen has struggled with profitability in recent quarters. The company’s new strategy is to retool its business segment and focus on growth products, including strategic services like security, zero trust, unified communications and the carrier’s new multi-Gigabit premier fiber internet service, Quantum Fiber.

“I am proud to take on the CEO role and eager to advance the strategy [Storey] and the team have created,” Johnson said in a statement on her appointment. “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,” she said.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Lumen‘s CEO,” Storey said in a statement. “Throughout my time with the company, I have been incredibly impressed by our team’s commitment to Lumen and to our core purpose of furthering human progress through technology. I am proud of all that we have achieved together as we have driven forward on Lumen’s transformation journey. … I am confident that the organization has the strategy in place to deliver on its priority of achieving profitable revenue growth. I am very excited to welcome [Johnson] to Lumen. I believe her experience, leadership and enthusiasm are exactly what we need as we drive the company forward.”

 

Learn More: Telecom
Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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