Level 3 Promotes Chief Operating Officer Jeff Storey to CEO Job

Level 3 Communications Inc., an operator of global fiber-optic network, promoted Chief Operating Officer Jeff Storey to the top job, filling a role vacated by longtime Chief Executive Officer Jim Crowe.

Storey will take the CEO position immediately, the Broomfield, Colorado-based company said in a statement. Crowe announced his intention last month to step down by the end of the year. Storey also was nominated to take Crowe’s board seat.

“Jeff was the clear and unanimous choice of the board,” Chairman Walter Scott said in the statement. “With 30 years of industry experience and his intimate knowledge of Level 3’s customers, employees and operating environment, Jeff is the right executive to lead Level 3 into the future.”

Crowe led Level 3 from its days as a startup in 1998, when the company set out to create a massive communications network with 19,600 route miles. The Internet bust in 2000 took a devastating toll on Level 3, and it posted more than $12 billion in losses during the first decade of the 2000s. The stock also lost 99 percent of its value.

Now the company is trying to capitalize on the growth of video traffic and other bandwidth-heavy Internet activities in a bid to return to profitability. Analysts estimate that the company will be around the break-even point this year and post a profit in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“I look forward to building on this vision and leading our company into the next phase of profitable revenue growth,” Storey said today in the statement.

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