Oxford Networks is getting a new leader.

Rick Anstey, the president and CEO who helped turn the 100-year-old telephone company into a regional telecommunications powerhouse, is retiring. He handed the presidency to Chief Operating Officer Craig Gunderson earlier this week and will give up the CEO position – also to Gunderson – at the end of this year.

“We wanted a good long transition period,” Anstey said.

Anstey, 60, has been involved in the business for 38 years, 34 of them in the telecommunications industry. When he joined Oxford Networks in 1998, it was a small, regional phone company with 50 employees. The company had revenue of $9 million a year.

Eight years later, it provides several telecommunication services, including cable television and high-speed Internet access, to homes and businesses throughout southern, central and western Maine, as well as part of New Hampshire. The company more than doubled its staff and, in 2004, moved to new headquarters on Lisbon street in Lewiston. Oxford Networks now has revenue of $22 million annually.

Anstey will share leadership with Gunderson over the next six months. Anstey officially leaves on Dec. 31. He believes customers will not notice any change.

He plans to retire and move with his wife to Colorado, where two of their children live.

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