Ritter Communications taps Heath Simpson as CEO

Ritter Communications, a privately held ISP serving the Mid-Southern U.S., has named Heath Simpson as its new chief executive, effective January 31. Current CEO Alan Morse will transition to the role of executive chairman.

Simpson joined Ritter in March 2020 as chief financial officer and was later promoted to president and COO in late 2022. In the latter role, he oversaw the company’s finance, information technology, project management, customer experience, field operations and human resources areas.

Prior to joining Ritter, Simpson has over 20 years of experience in the telecom industry. Notably, he served as AT&T’s executive director of corporate development for 11 years and as SVP of financial planning and analysis at Frontier for five years.

According to Ritter, the transition marks “the culmination of a strategic succession plan” that will allow the company to “continue its aggressive growth trajectory.”

Meanwhile Morse, who joined Ritter in 2014 and became CEO in 2019, will retain his seat on the company’s board and serve in an advisory capacity during the transition. He will also continue to “contribute to strategic initiatives,” said Ritter.

During Morse’s tenure, Ritter invested more than $300 million to expand its footprint to over 148 communities in four states; Arkansas, Texas, Missouri and Tennessee.

“[Simpson] has the strategic vision, experience, skill set, and focus to sustain our strong momentum and carry our performance to the next level,” said Morse in a statement. “I am confident that, under his leadership, Ritter Communications will retain and enhance its position as a regional leader in the fiber broadband and telecom space.”

Ritter is part of PE firm Grain Management’s portfolio. Grain has invested in a range of broadband companies, including Great Plains Communications, Summit Broadband, Hunter Communications, LightRiver and Quintillion.

“We're also excited to elevate Ritter's trajectory even further with Heath at the helm, and we're confident in his ability to continue advancing this growth,” said Grain’s managing director Chad Crank.

*A previous version of this story stated Ritter will receive Enhanced A-CAM support from the FCC. A spokesperson reached out to Fierce after publication noting that isn't the case.