<<think of it this way. Lets say you were asked to inherit an almost impossible position in a game of chess. Are you blaming this on the person stepping in?>>
Yet you blame Storey for not being able to clean up the mess that was CenturyLink....which even you should recognize was a veritable DISASTER at the time of the merger.
Personally...I hated (and voted against) CenturyLink's acquisition of Level 3...which Storey and Patel had finally started turning in around back in 2017...and voted against the merger because I recognized that it would take at least 3 years to try and fix CenturyLink....IF Storey could get control and everything proceeded per trend back in 2016.
It took over a year after the acquisition for Storey to get control from the idiots at CenturyLink (in which CenturyLink's portion of the combined business worsened IMO) and even then subsequent events (Patel leaving to help T-Mobile/Sprint deal and optical networking tech bandwidth speed advancements primarily) made the challenges even worse. Finally, the Dems took back full control of the agenda and made the ILEC portion of CenturyLink lose even more value.
Tell me exactly how Storey's management made the situation WORSE at Lumen during his tenure.
Was his strategy of trying to concentrate on capturing the edge business wrong? No...Lumen is doing well there (though it's still a very small portion of the business).
Was it working on reducing provisioning time for customers? No...
Was his strategy of pursuing the gov't contract market incorrect? No...Lumen is finally seeing traction from its investments in this area.
Was it trying to partner up with T-Mobile (who has the wireless assets that Lumen needs...and who agreed with Storey to the point a partnership was established)? No.
Was it choosing to try and shore up the ridiculously poor balance sheet by paying down debt and extending debt terms (ahead of an INEVITABLE massive rise in both short and long-term interest rates) instead of buying back stock? No...this in fact is going to hopefully prevent Lumen from filing for bankruptcy (and wiping out equity holders) like most of its non-wireless dependent competitors who are (or were before bankruptcy) leveraged to the hilt.
Was it concentrating on offering a more differentiated product like low-latency bandwidth? Kinda...the industry NEED is there...HOWEVER it was the changing of the FCC guard in 2021 that blocked Lumen from benefiting much from this...but as we know, political hacks can change after every election....so we will see.
In fact, the only thing I really blame him for (in hindsight) is investing too much capex in the ILEC business...which is a large but dying cash generating cow. Unfortunately, had he disposed of the ILEC business earlier...he would have cut off the cash flow necessary to pay down debt...which I deem to have been even more critical...so as much as I'm irritated by it...I myself saw the justification for it at the time.
The only other thing you can actually fault him on is that the stock price dropped....and I agree that this last item is enough to cost him his job....but majorly disagree that Kate is being handed an impossible position. (I personally would love to be handed Lumen's reins in her place with such low expectations.) The stock is already vastly underpriced (if it were to maintain Storey's strategies)...but I think that a significant portion of this is that investors like myself have no faith in Lumen's success trying to pursue the growth-type strategy that Kate has previously undertaken at her previous positions. She could surprise me by continuing most of Storey's initiatives...but I doubt it so, I would move aside until she provides more concrete proof of her intentions. It shouldn't take long for the market to get confirmation of what path she intends to take.
PS - I do blame the drop from $11 to the current position on the management change as that is the only piece of NEW news specific to Lumen that wasn't already in the market back in Sep (and as I stated, hints of it were leaking out in mid-August). I realize that the NASDAQ and S&P 500 have fallen in the same period (by less)...but the reality is that both those indices are heavily weighted to just a few names that were highly overvalued. because of indexing.