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January 5, 2015 5 To Watch 2015

Frontier's Quick says brand awareness, market share growth keys to 2015

PHOTO | Pablo Robles Paul Quick, general manager and senior vice president of Frontier Communications' Connecticut operations.

If Frontier Communications' push into Connecticut has a face, it's Paul Quick.

The self-proclaimed “young 50-ish” general manager and senior vice president has oversight of sales, field operations and customer service for the Stamford-based telecom's Connecticut landline, Internet, and television business, which it acquired from AT&T in October for $2 billion.

In a late October interview at Frontier's newly acquired Hartford reporting center on Brainard Road, Quick said his charge is to take market share away from competitors, win back cord cutters, and upsell existing customers, all while delivering on the bottom line for his publicly traded employer.

From 2012 until earlier this year Quick ran Frontier's Pennsylvania operation, which has a lot in common with Connecticut, including a similar business model and products and customers. But there are key differences as well, Quick said.

Pennsylvania was already an established market for Frontier when Quick took it over; Connecticut isn't. So there were technical challenges of converting former AT&T systems, all while trying to introduce customers to a new brand with which they are less familiar.

Upwards of 10,000 people experienced interrupted phone, Internet or TV service during and after Frontier's switchover in late October, the company said. It amounted to less than 1 percent of the approximately 1 million customers whose data was being switched over, Quick said, but he didn't downplay the mishap.

“We find that to be unacceptable,” he said. “People want their Internet.”

Quick doesn't have a typical telecom executive's background. He worked for Hallmark from the mid-1980s to 2008, where he held various management positions, including leading a team that served one of the greeting card maker's biggest customers, Walgreens, and president of the Image Arts division.

Frontier's East Region President, Ken Arndt, said Quick's background in the greeting card industry is a plus for the company. “It wasn't your traditional communications [background], but he was a leader,” Arndt said. “He believes in what he's doing, and it comes across.”

Quick describes himself as passionate and inquisitive.

“I want to know why, how something works, if we can do it better,” he said.

Quick said he has a number of ways to measure success in the year ahead. The key goals are to grow commercial and residential market share, deliver financial results, be involved with nonprofits, and “delight the customer,” which is a phrase Quick uses often.

“We will either become the provider of choice or the top-of-mind choice for customers when they decide that they want to make choices around phone, Internet or television,” he said.

Quick chose his phrasing carefully as the company will be competing for market share with competitors including Comcast, Cox, Charter, and Cablevision.

Quick said Frontier will compete on price and service. An all U.S. workforce is also a selling point for some customers, he said.

Quick said he's heartened by early demand he has witnessed for AT&T's U-Verse triple play offering, which was part of the Frontier acquisition and is now called Frontier TV.

“I've been a marketer for a number of companies,” he said. “It's a rare situation where a customer says 'when can I have it?' That's a great place to be.”

Frontier also has more branding to do, Quick said.

“When you say 'AT&T,' people know who that is,” he said. “When you say 'Frontier,' you still have some brand building to do, and we're going to get that done.”

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