CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – FairPoint Communications says it’s searching for a successor to Chairman and Chief Executive Eugene Johnson.

But the company, which has operations in northern New England, says it has no deadline to replace Johnson. His contract expires at the end of next year.

After The Wall Street Journal reported the search was under way, the telecommunications carrier said today its board “has reaffirmed” Johnson’s standing as chairman and CEO. The 61-year-old Johnson is a co-founder of FairPoint and has been CEO since January 2002.

FairPoint says no deadline’s been set to find Johnson’s successor.

Last spring, FairPoint bought Verizon Communications’ land operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for $2.3 billion.

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