Verizon names chief technology officer as new CEO

Hans Vestberg Lowell McAdam

Hans Vestberg left will succeed Lowell Mc Adam as CEO effective August 1

Verizon Communications (VZ) said Chief Executive Lowell McAdam will step down effective August 1 and will be replaced by Hans Vestberg, a former Ericsson (ERIC) executive who joined the company in 2017 as president of global networks and chief technology officer.

"Effective immediately, Stratton will step down from his current role and will support a smooth transition as a strategic adviser reporting to Lowell McAdam", Verizon said in a statement Friday.

Verizon Communications has named Ericsson former CEO Hans Vestberg as the next CEO and the successor to Lowell McAdam.

Wells Fargo Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said the choice of Vestberg speaks volumes about Verizon's future priorities.

Vestberg, 52, is now chief technology officer and head of global networks for Verizon, the leading U.S. wireless telecom group which also owns the AOL and Yahoo brands and is a major broadband provider.

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.

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

One of McAdam's signature deals was Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodafone's 45% stake in the USA wireless company, a deal which gave the company full access to the profits from its mobile operations and the resources to invest in its mobile network and fend off challengers. He'll remain executive chairman until he retires at the end of the year.

Verizon has also been touting its upcoming 5G network, which promises to bring faster data speeds to businesses and consumers. Now Vestberg will lead the entire company. He previously was CEO at Ericsson before exiting in mid-2016.

McAdam sought instead to diversify Verizon's business by investing in digital content.

The lines between telecom and media are rapidly blurring though.

He also led efforts to buy faded internet stars AOL and Yahoo to create a digital media operation within the firm, under the brand known as Oath.

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