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Posted on Wed, Aug. 04, 2004

Birch Telecom co-founder replaced as CEO




The Kansas City Star

David Scott, co-founder of Kansas City-based Birch Telecom, has been replaced as the company's chief executive.

In a statement, Birch Chairman Dick Jalkut said the company's board has named former BellSouth executive G. Michael Cassity to lead the company.

With 1,400 employees, Birch Telecom is one of the largest competitive telephone companies in the Midwest and southern states. Since being formed in 1997, the company has grown to about 150,000 customers and $340 million in annual sales.

“Thanks in large part to Dave's leadership and expertise, Birch is solidly positioned for the future,” Jalkut said. “Taking the company from start-up…Dave's entrepreneurial spirit was a driving force in Birch's evolution.”

Jalkut said Cassity will help take Birch to the “next level.”

Cassity currently is president and chief operating officer of NuVox Communications. NuVox merged with NewSouth Communications Inc. of Greenville, S.C. earlier this year. NuVox's headquarters is being moved from Chesterfield, Mo., to Greenville.

Originally called Gabriel Communications, NuVox also was a local competitor to the Bell companies.

“The board of directors and I are especially enthusiastic about Mike's record of success across a broad range of functional areas, including strategic planning, regulatory affairs and network operations,” Jalkut said in a statement.

“These will be critical assets as Birch continues to expand its network and accelerates its ongoing transition to a facilities-based portfolio of products and services.”

Scott was not immediately available for comment.

Birch and other Bell competitors are under pressure from a decision by the Bush Administration not to appeal a court ruling that overturned federal regulations forcing the former Bell companies to share their telephone networks with competitors at discounted rates.

The rules were put into place when the Federal Communications Commission allowed the Bell companies to compete in the long-distance market.

To reach David Hayes, senior technology writer at The Star, call (816) 234-4904 or send e-mail to dhayes@kcstar.com


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