Level 3 announced this morning that its board of directors had promoted chief operating officer Jim Storey to  CEO.

Storey takes over the tiller from longtime CEO Jim Crowe, who announced last month that he was stepping down by year’s end. Level 3 said that Storey was also nominated for election to its board at the company's upcoming stockholders meeting next month while  Crowe would not stand for reelection to the board.

"We are extremely pleased to name Jeff as our new CEO and look forward to him joining our board of directors," said Walter Scott, Jr. , chairman of the board of directors of Level 3. "Jeff was the clear and unanimous choice of the Board. With 30 years of industry experience and his intimate knowledge of Level 3's customers, employees and operating environment, Jeff is the right executive to lead Level 3 into the future."

Storey joined fiber-optics network vendor Level 3 in 2008 as the company's president and chief operating officer.  Prior to Level 3, he served as president of Leucadia Telecommunications Group where he was responsible for investments and operations across various industries.

Before Leucadia, Storey was president and chief executive officer at WilTel Communications, which also built fiber optics networks. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at Cox Communications, where he was one of the founding members of Cox Business Services. Storey began his career in telecommunications with Southwestern Bell Telephone.

“I am honored by the confidence and trust the Board has placed in me and am energized by the opportunities ahead for our company," said Storey. "Today with our solid financial foundation, our expanding position in the enterprise market and the substantial progress we've made with integration, I believe our opportunities are greater than ever.  

"The company is where it is today because of Jim Crowe. On behalf of the entire company, I thank Jim for his inspired leadership and strong belief in what Level 3 could become.”

Prior to becoming a global company, Crowe led Level 3’s build out of a national fiber backbone network starting in 1998. Level 3 was ahead of the curve when it came to deploying fiber by laying dark fiber in its new routes.  Without services such as video over the Internet, and with the bust in the 2000s, Level 3 struggled at times to keep its pipes full and the company profitable.

The onslaught of Internet video and other bandwidth-consuming services have bolstered Level 3’s prospects over the past few years.  Broomfield, Colo.—based Level 3 offers core transport, IP, voice, video and content delivery for most of the medium to large Internet carriers in North America, Latin America and some areas abroad.

Overall, Level 3 serves customers in more than 500 markets in 55 countries over a global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents and connected by extensive undersea facilities.