Published in Profile April/May/June 2014
Maggie Wilderotter has spent a lot of time in rural America.
At first glance she may seem out of place, having cut her teeth in Silicon Valley and at some of the country’s biggest names in high technology. The woman who was once senior vice president of McCaw Cellular Communications, president of national operations for AT&T Wireless Services, CEO of Wink Communications, and senior vice president of business strategy at Microsoft was not wanting for work when the board of Citizens Communications approached her to lead what is now Frontier Communications—“It’s not that I didn’t have other opportunities, and frankly, not that I don’t still,” she says wryly—but the chance to again be a CEO in the industry she loved was an offer she couldn’t pass up.
As chairman and CEO of Frontier, Wilderotter uses her company’s communications products and services to help rural America survive and thrive, especially in challenging economic times. Caught on the margin of forgotten and taken for granted, the America that “the grid” missed is a place many simultaneously evaluate as too small to accommodate, yet “sufficient” when compared to the more primitive corners of the world. When Wilderotter took Frontier’s reins in 2004, she saw in it what others overlooked: market opportunity …