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Tony Thomas, President & Chief Executive Officer


Tony Thomas is president and chief executive officer of Windstream. He was appointed to the position in December 2014. Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience in the communications industry.

Thomas served as the chief financial officer for Windstream from August 2009 through September 2014. During his five-year tenure as CFO, Thomas played an integral role in Windstream's expansion by completing seven acquisitions totaling more than $5.6 billion in transaction value. In addition, Thomas has deep capital market expertise, having led almost $10 billion in debt transactions.

Thomas joined Windstream as controller following the spinoff from Alltel Corp. He held a variety of financial and operational leadership roles at Alltel after joining the company when it merged with 360 Communications in 1998. Before entering the communications industry, he was with Ernst & Young in the telecom practice. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University and a bachelor's degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois.

Drew Smith, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer


Drew Smith was appointed chief financial officer and treasurer for Windstream in 2022. He is responsible for overseeing Windstream’s accounting, finance, capital planning, tax, procurement, audit, investor relations and treasury teams.

He has held numerous leadership roles within the company since joining in 2008. He most recently served as executive vice president of financial planning and treasurer for Windstream where he oversaw financial forecasting and planning, treasury and capital market functions and debt management as well business development for the company. Prior to this, Drew served as president of consumer and small and medium-sized business services. He also has held senior leadership roles in access management, carrier relations and service delivery.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Arkansas. He is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Jeff Small, President – Kinetic


Jeff Small is president of consumer, small and medium-sized business in markets where Windstream is the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC). Small oversees all aspects of Windstream’s relationship with consumers as well as small and medium sized business customers in these markets, including field operations, sales, customer care, and marketing and product marketing. He also has responsibility for the broadband engineering, broadband project management and outside plant engineering groups in these markets. He is currently the executive sponsor of the Windstream Black Professionals Network employee resource group.

Small joined the company in June 2016 as executive vice president of engineering and network operations. Previously, he was senior vice president of corporate development and operations for Communications Sales & Leasing (now Uniti Group), the Real Estate Investment Trust created in 2015 with the spinoff of certain Windstream network assets.

Before joining CS&L, Small was vice president of procurement and carrier service delivery at Windstream. He also held a variety of other accounting and finance leadership roles with Windstream. He previously served as the controller for Ranger Boats, Inc., and was a senior auditor with Arthur Andersen LLP.

Small holds an accounting degree from Arkansas State University.

Ron “Buddy” Bayer, Buddy Bayer – Windstream Enterprise and Wholesale President


Ron “Buddy” Bayer is president of the Enterprise and Wholesale business unit.

Bayer is responsible for sales and marketing, service delivery, customer care, service assurance, and access as well as the Channel Program for the Enterprise business unit. Bayer will continue to oversee Windstream Wholesale sales and operations as well as network engineering and field operations in markets where Windstream is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC).

Bayer also leads network engineering, architecture, and capital investment as well as field operations in markets where Windstream is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC).

Prior to being named Chief Network Officer in 2019, Bayer was previously senior vice president of transport engineering, overseeing Windstream’s long-haul, regional and metro networks; inside plant facilities, and fiber deployment.

He joined Windstream in September 2014 from CenturyLink, now Lumen, where he was director of transport planning and engineering. He had previously held a variety of management and engineering positions with OnFiber Communications and MCIWorldCom.

Bayer holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Stephen Farkouh, Chief Information Officer


Stephen Farkouh is chief information officer at Windstream. He oversees all aspects of information technology at Windstream and is responsible for partnering with the business to maximize the value of technology investments and drive new opportunity.

Farkouh was previously Windstream’s senior vice president of cloud technology and platform development. In that role, he was responsible for the creation of award-winning UCaaS and SD-WAN products, customer self-service web portals and mobile applications, and software integrations.

Farkouh joined Windstream in August 2017 following the acquisition of Broadview Networks where he led numerous transformation programs, including the shift to agile software development methodologies and DevOps.

He has over 30 years’ experience applying innovative software to create strategic differentiation and over 10 years’ experience working at an executive level. Prior to Windstream, Farkouh worked with Broadview Networks, AT&T, Teleport Communications Group, Objective Systems Integrators, and Bellcore.

Farkouh holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.

Mary Michaels, Chief Human Resources Officer


Mary Michaels is chief human resources officer at Windstream. She oversees all human resource functions, including compensation, benefits, learning and development, recruiting, employee relations, talent development and employee engagement.

Michaels was most recently Windstream’s vice president of compensation and benefits, a position she had held since November 2016. Previously she served as director of investor relations and capital markets and then vice president of investor relations and assistant treasurer for the company. Before that, she served in various finance positions at Alltel Wireless.

Michaels holds a master’s degree in business administration and finance from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in business from Tulane University.

Kevin Halpin, Senior Vice President –Process Development and Project Management


Kevin Halpin is senior vice president of process development and project management for Windstream. He was appointed to the position in January 2015 and works with business unit leaders across the company to enhance the customer experience. He is currently the executive sponsor of the WINPride employee resource group, which strives to increase LGBTQ+ cultural awareness to foster an environment of inclusion for all Windstream employees.

Halpin has worked in the communications industry for 20 years. He previously served as a transition lead vice president at AT&T, where he helped oversee the buildout of the information technology infrastructure needed to migrate Allied Wireless customers to AT&T. Before joining AT&T, Halpin served as vice president of process development for Alltel Corp. He also held a number of other leadership roles at Alltel in relationship marketing, product management and strategic marketing.

Halpin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois.

Kristi Moody, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer


Kristi Moody is executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer for Windstream. Moody oversees the company’s legal affairs, including strategic initiatives, contracts and contingencies, risk management, government affairs, regulatory and ethics compliance, and corporate governance matters. She is currently the executive sponsor of Windstream’s employee resource group, Women of Windstream.

Moody joined Windstream in 2006 as senior litigation counsel. She was named vice president of law in 2012 and deputy general counsel in 2013, and served as Windstream’s corporate secretary until May 2023.

Prior to joining Windstream, Moody was in private practice for 11 years at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP. She has a juris doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Louisiana Tech University. She is the current board chair of Home for Healing, an Arkansas non-profit providing housing and other services to guests undergoing medical treatment and their caregivers.

John Eichler, Senior Vice President and Controller


John Eichler is senior vice president and controller for Windstream. Eichler is responsible for the company's accounting, external reporting, regulatory reporting, cash application and accounts payable functions. He previously served as vice president of internal audit for Windstream.

Eichler was vice president of internal audit for Alltel's wireline business prior to joining Windstream in July 2006. Before joining Alltel, Eichler served as a consultant for companies in the communications industry and is a former audit manager for Arthur Andersen LLP.

Eichler holds a degree in accounting and finance from the University of Arkansas. He is a licensed certified public accountant. He serves on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Arkansas and the Sam M. Walton College of Business Accounting Advisory Board at the University of Arkansas.