Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Verizon names former Ericsson chief as new CEO

Verizon names top technology officer as its new CEO Modal Trigger Hans Vestberg Getty Images
Nellie Chapman | 09 June, 2018, 20:11

Vestberg is stepping into a role that some people thought would be filled by John Stratton, EVP and president of global operations.

Swedish-native Vestberg is the former CEO of Ericsson who joined Verizon in April 2017 as CTO and EVP/president of global networks. Lars Soderfjell, a portfolio manager at Finnish bank Alandsbanken, which owns Ericsson shares, said Vestberg pushed to expand the company's services unit, which included managing networks for mobile operators.

McAdam, 64, plans to retire at the end of the year and will serve as executive chairman of the board until then and then become non-executive chairman, the company said in a statement.

Vestberg was CEO of Sweden's Ericsson for six years, focusing on growth over profit.

The decision to name Vestberg as Verizon's new CEO seems to indicate that the company, unlike rival AT&T (T), wants to focus on its wireless technology more than films and television.

The second largest telecom operator AT&T is now awaiting a court decision on whether it can proceed with its plan to buy media company Time Warner to bring cost effective content to wireless subscribers as part of the strategy to enhance ARPU.

Mr. Vestberg, who joined the company about a year ago and is its chief technology officer, will succeed longtime CEO Lowell McAdam on August 1.

Present responsibilities of Hans Vestberg, 52, include developing the strong architecture for Verizon's fiber-centric networks, including 4G LTE network, 5G deployment in the USA, residential fiber network, and a global internet backbone and undersea cable network with massive investment. The board's selection of the newcomer, who has been responsible for overseeing the deployment of next-generation 5G mobile services, signals the significance the company places on an emerging technology that will deliver faster internet connections and download speeds and play a critical role in a range of emerging technologies, including self-driving vehicles and internet connected devices. During his tenure, Ericsson could not make huge deals in line with Nokia, the telecom equipment maker from Finland. Vestberg was "a better match for where Verizon was going to go", McAdam tells the WSJ. He also led the acquisitions of major media, fiber and telematics assets, including AOL Inc., Yahoo!