- Zayo Group, a global provider of communications infrastructure services, said Wednesday that long-time Verizon alum Jeffrey Noto will take over Zayo’s top financial seat.
- The change comes as Zayo prepares for a “significant period of growth,” CEO Steve Smith said in a press release. This will include “strategic investment in our assets and the capabilities that will best serve our customers,” he said.
- Noto, who officially started in the role on Monday, noted Zayo has “had a great growth trajectory, and I want to help accelerate that where I can, but I’m really focused on profitable growth,” he said in an interview. "A lot of companies when they're in a heavy growth phase can grow at almost any cost. It's easy to fall into that trap. I want to make sure that we're focused on profitable growth.”
As part of its plans for growth, Zayo completed two strategic acquisitions and the reintegration of its previously acquired Allstream business in 2022, enabling it to provide a connected fiber network to residents in the U.S. and Canada, the company said.
Zayo, which has its European headquarters in London, has already taken steps to further its growth in Europe this year as well, announcing in January that it had deployed a new 400G enabled route between Paris and Marseille, France, for example.
The move comes as capacity demands in Marseille are expected to triple by 2026, the company said in the release, with the city well on its way to becoming a key hub for internet connectivity.
Zayo — which provides communication infrastructure including fiber and bandwidth connectivity, according to its website — has stacked its technology team with telecom veterans in recent months.
Noto most recently served as SVP and CFO, global networks and technology, and in the same role for Verizon global at the telecom company, and held a variety of financial and other executive positions throughout his more than 30-year tenure.
Noto, who said the decision to leave Verizon was a hard one, hopes to apply the lessons he learned from the company’s scale and complexity to his role as Zayo’s finance chief, he said, noting there is also a “certain beauty” to transitioning to a smaller, potentially less complex environment.
At bigger companies like Verizon, which operate in a large and complex environment, “we tend to be more functionality focused,” he said. The move to Zayo “gives me a chance to own the four lane highway that is finance and not just accounting or FPA or investor relations or tax,” he said.
When it comes to hitting that profitable growth balance, communication between the finance, sales and marketing teams is critical, Noto said. The different groups “like to think of ourselves as kind of operating on the opposite ends of the spectrum in real life where we should be operating shoulder to shoulder,” he said. The intention is not to stifle growth as a finance chief, but to work with those other teams to ensure they can find a way to do so together, he said.
“Part of my role as a finance executive is to allocate resources to ensure that everybody has the right balance of tools and technology,” Noto said.
The finance chief represents the second Verizon executive Zayo appointed to the leadership team in recent months. His appointment follows that of fellow alum Jason Taylor, who was recently named as SVP of enterprise sales for Zayo. Taylor — who took on the role in January — previously logged a 24-year stint at Verizon, most recently serving as director public sector for Verizon Business, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The two executives have left Verizon a scant month after a larger restructuring at the telecom company, with SVP and controller Tony Skiadas taking over as interim finance chief following the departure of Matt Ellis in early March.
Verizon also made other executive swaps at the beginning of that month, including naming Sowmyanarayan Sampath — its previous head of Verizon Business Group — CEO of its consumer group and swapping its head of Global Networks and Technology to head up the business group.
Besides the two Verizon alums, the Boulder, Colo.-based company also poached fellow technology and telecom veteran Bill Long from Equinix to serve as its chief product officer last September.