When Jeffery Gardner became president and CEO at Monitronics in September of 2015, he approached the position with a desire to make a quick impact. That’s why three of the biggest moves during his first six months have involved leadership positions, including a new chief information officer, chief marketing officer and vice president of product management.
The most recent addition came on Feb. 15, when Cindy Nash joined Monitronics as CIO. Nash has more than 25 years of experience in the technology sector, most recently as executive vice president and CIO at Windstream Communications. Based in Little Rock, Ark., Windstream is a $6 billion provider of voice and data network communications for residential and commercial customers in 21 states.
Prior to adding Nash, Monitronics added Peter Tonti as vice president of product management on Jan. 4. Tonti has more than 20 years of leadership and expertise in marketing, customer experience and strategic planning. Tonti was previously vice president of enterprise product marketing at Windstream.
Gardner’s first major Monitronics hire came in November 2015 when he selected Frank Guido as chief marketing officer. Guido has more than 25 years of leadership experience in branding, agency management, digital marketing, advertising, and sales and operations at a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Windstream and Alltel.
The Windstream connection is no coincidence. Gardner knew all three from his tenure of nearly 10 years as president and CEO at Windstream, where they had not only been successful leaders, but trusted associates who shared Gardner’s vision for a successful business.
For Gardner, it was simple: You pick the best people. “The fact that they are three exceptional leaders who are among the most talented people I have worked with made the decision easy. It’s also important that they share my views on creating a great culture,” he said.
“I’ve always been a person who makes things happen, and I hire people who make things happen,” Gardner said. “With any new CEO, there are inevitably organizational changes that take place. We have an extremely talented team with deep industry experience, but adding Cindy, Frank and Peter will make us a stronger, fiercer competitor in our industry.”
Still, it’s natural to wonder how major executives from the telecommunications business ended up at one of the nation’s largest security companies.
“We have plenty of security expertise at the company today, so it was very purposeful that I was hired from the outside to bring a different perspective to Monitronics,” Gardner said. “I have experience leading very large companies that are recurring revenue businesses. I brought that here, along with a lot of dealer experience from telecommunications.”
After taking some time to learn about the industry and the company, he soon discovered it would be wise to continue adding that kind of experience to Monitronics’ upper management.
“There are a lot of similarities between the two industries,” Gardner said. “Wireless is a business where it’s important to take care of your customers, consistently drive lower attrition and always search for new ways to grow revenue. Marketing, technology and product development also play important roles in each industry, especially since our business model emphasizes both security and home automation. That’s why Cindy, Frank and Peter are a perfect fit with our mission and with our culture.”