Stephen R. Leeolou
Stephen R. Leeolou — Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Stephen R. Leeolou has spent the past 30 years in the telecommunications and communications industries. From 1982 to 1999, Steve was co-founder and COO, then CEO of Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc., one of the first cellular telephone companies in the U.S. Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., Vanguard operated in 28 suburban and rural markets in the eastern U.S. under the Cellular One brand name. Steve helped guide the company through more than $1 billion of private and public financing transactions, dozens of acquisitions, and operating growth that reached nearly one million subscribers.
Publicly listed on NASDAQ, Vanguard was sold to AT&T in 1999 for approximately $1.7 billion. After the sale of Vanguard, Steve served for two years as chairman and CEO of InterAct Electronic Marketing, Inc. which provided on-line and in-store targeted promotional services in the U.S. and U.K. retail grocery and pharmacy industries.
In 2002, Steve formed SouthStar Capital, LLC, a private investment firm owned primarily by Steve and his family which, in 2004, became Conterra’s largest owner. In 2014, Court Square Capital Partners, with substantial participation by the company’s senior management team, led an equity investment that resulted in the purchase of a majority interest in Conterra.
Prior to his 17 years in wireless communications, Steve was a print, radio, and television journalist, primarily in the southeastern U.S. He is a 1978 graduate of James Madison University and was appointed by Governors Warner and Kaine of Virginia to serve on JMU’s Board of Visitors, a position held for eight years.