A very relaxed Arunas Chesonis addressed a crowd of fellow businessmen and women today at the Leadership Breakfast at Roberts Weselyan College.



The speech came one day after PAETEC stockholders approved the $2.3 billion merger with Windstream Corp.



Chesonis has faced criticism for negotiating with the Arkansas-based telecommunications giant as PAETEC's plans to move its headquarters to the former Midtown Plaza in downtown Rochester remain unknown at this time.

A very relaxed Arunas Chesonis addressed a crowd of fellow businessmen and women today at the Leadership Breakfast at Roberts Weselyan College.

The speech came one day after PAETEC stockholders approved the $2.3 billion merger with Windstream Corp.

Chesonis has faced criticism for negotiating with the Arkansas-based telecommunications giant as PAETEC's plans to move its headquarters to the former Midtown Plaza in downtown Rochester remain unknown at this time.

Nevertheless, the CEO said that the merger will be beneficial because the value of company stock will increase, helping not only its shareholders but the staff overall. He said that currently, 95 percent of PAETEC stock is owned by individuals other than the CEO.

"You've got to do what's right for everyone's interest," he said. "In this case, what's best for the shareholders is best for the employees long-term."

The deal with Windstream is anticipated to close by December.

During the event, he fielded questions from the crowd that ranged from his views on Rochester's business climate to how to connect with employees.

In the future, Chesonis said he hopes to explore energy and sustainability and grow the business on an international level.

His candid demeanor was evident, as his dry humor drew laughs from the crowd. Although lighthearted, Chesonis said he's doing his best to maintain the trust of all those working under him.

"At the end of the day, you get one strike with your employees, not three," he said. "Once you break that trust, you never get it back."

The majority of guests responded positively to the speech. David Mammano, CEO of local publisher NextStepU called it "inspiring." During the Q&A session, he asked about the merger and walked away with confidence in Chesonis's decision to go through with it.

"There's a lot going on behind the scenes that people don't see," he said. "I think in the end, when you're a public company you have to think of the big picture."

Chesonis will speak with reporters on Monday to answer questions about the company's plans for Midtown.