Crown Castle shuffles management ranks on eve of closing Lightower deal

Crown Castle is realigning its top management team as it moves to complete its Lightower acquisition by shifting two of its executives to focus on three key growth areas: fiber, small cells and wireless towers.

James Young, who served as Crown Castle’s SVP and COO, will now be in charge of leading the company’s fiber solutions efforts.

Crown Castle
James Young

Meanwhile, Robert Ackerman will transition from his position as area president to assume the role of SVP and COO of Crown Castle’s towers and small cell division.

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Young and Ackerman will report to Jay Brown, CEO of Crown Castle.   

Young has 30 years of telecom industry experience. He joined Crown Castle in October 2005 and has served as SVP and Chief Operating Officer since 2009. Ackerman joined Crown Castle in August 1998 and has served as an Area President of its operating subsidiaries since 2002.

Both of these appointments come at a key time in Crown Castle’s emergence as a major fiber network player. Besides its pending acquisition of Lightower, Crown Castle has aggressively built out an arsenal of fiber assets by also purchasing FPL FiberNet and Wilcon.

However, the Lightower deal is a significant one, particularly for the amount of fiber assets it will gain.

Lightower owns or has rights to approximately 32,000 route miles of fiber located primarily in metro markets in the Northeast, including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. After completing the acquisition, Crown Castle will own or have rights to approximately 60,000 route miles of fiber, with a presence in all of the top 10 and 23 of the top 25 metro markets. That will make the company one of the larger fiber U.S. network operators.

One of Young’s likely first goals will be to focus on integrating the array of fiber assets Crown Castle has purchased in recent years and furthering a strategy that will not only address small cell and tower opportunities but also strengthen its bond retail business segments such as health care, government and education.