GCI announces executive leadership promotions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – GCI today announced additions to the company’s leadership team with the promotion of William Wailand to Senior Vice President, Heather Handyside to Chief Communications Officer, Duncan Whitney to Chief Product Officer, Holly Henningsen to Vice President of Consumer Sales and Operations, Manoj Manoharan to Vice President of Internet & Business Products, and Tyler Samples to Vice President of Business Finance & Administration.
In his new role, Wailand will lead strategic negotiations with major customers, vendors, and telecommunication partners inside and outside the state. He will also head cross-departmental company initiatives developing and implementing long term strategies for enhancing GCI’s leading statewide telecommunications network. Wailand formerly served as GCI’s Vice President of Corporate Development and Associate General Counsel and has worked for the company for 7 years. He brings 15 years of business and legal experience to his new role. Wailand serves as a trustee for the Alaska Conservation Foundation.
In her new role, Handyside will lead GCI’s Corporate Communications department overseeing internal and external communications, public relations, and crisis communications. Handyside will continue in her role as GCI spokesperson and as co-executive sponsor of GCI Gives—the company’s philanthropy program. Before joining GCI in 2015, Handyside worked as emergency manager and deputy municipal manager for the Municipality of Anchorage and as press secretary for U.S. Senator Mark Begich.
She serves on the boards of the Anchorage Park Foundation, Girl Scouts of Alaska, and Volunteers of America, Alaska.
As Chief Product Officer, Whitney will continue to lead GCI’s product strategy and development functions for both Business and Consumer segments. Whitney’s expertise will help guide the company through future cutting-edge technology deployments like GCI’s recent launch of 5G service. Whitney, who has lived in Alaska for more than four decades, has been with GCI for 28 years in a diverse set of roles including leading the product organization since 2015. He has served on the Cable Labs Technical Committee, an industry group made up of chief technology officers from large US and international operators, since 2014.
In her new role, Henningsen will be responsible for Consumer customer service, sales and operations. She will oversee several key customer-facing groups including Consumer Call Center and Technical Support, Combined Service Delivery, Consumer Debt Collections, and Quality Assurance. Henningsen is responsible for customer service and operations at GCI retail stores statewide. Henningsen has been with GCI for over 25 years and has been an active leader in several large company initiatives. She has called Alaska home since 1973.
In his new role, Manoharan will lead product management and development functions focused on GCI Business and consumer Internet services. Manoharan’s experience includes a diverse set of roles managing and growing products over the last decade within the cable and telecommunications sector. Manoharan has served in several committees in industry organizations such as Metro Ethernet Forum to drive standardization and service specification within the industry. He currently serves on the board of National Giving Alliance.
In his new role, Samples will lead the Finance team for the GCI Business Division which includes financial planning and analysis, billing, and collections. He will focus on making strategic recommendations to the senior vice president of GCI Business, advising on long-term business and financial planning, implementing a fully functioning control environment, and providing direction for the team. He brings 12 years of finance, operating and accounting experience to his new role, having served for five years as both vice president of the Tourism Division and director of Corporate Development at Air Methods, a privately held health care services company, as well as 7 years with KPMG. Samples currently resides in Denver, Colorado.
“GCI has been serving Alaskans for more than 40 years and I’m pleased to announce the promotion of a new group of leaders who will help usher GCI through its next 40 years,” said GCI President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Chapados. “Our industry evolves at light speed and we must ensure that we make space for new leadership across the company, so we are able to respond to new challenges and meet the changing demands of our industry and our customers. These promotions demonstrate GCI’s commitment to providing opportunities to our employees and ensuring an experienced leadership team is at the helm for years to come.”
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of