Verizon names tech chief as CEO, putting network over content

Verizon Names Former Ericsson Chief Hans Vestberg as New CEO Prioritises 5G Over Content

Verizon Communications said Friday that Hans Vestberg will become its new chief executive on August 1 in a move that shows how the No. 1 USA wireless carrier is prioritizing developing a next-generation network as it faces more competition from smaller rivals. Vestberg's contribution so far at Verizon as CTO is quite deep. Well enough for McAdam to want Vestberg to succeed him as CEO. Stratton plans to retire by the end of the year.

"There are number of different ways Hans Vestberg could reshape Verizon's future", BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk told the Washington Post, given that communications companies are "facing new competition and disruption to their existing business models" - referring to OTT.

His time with the company has been short, only taking on his current roles with it in April 2017. A judgment on the case will be next week, on Tuesday 12 June. He also led the acquisitions of major media, fiber and telematics assets, including AOL Inc., Yahoo! The company also acquired 45 percent of Vodafone's $130 billion stake in Verizon Wireless, now the biggest technology deal of all time. "As the industry enters a next phase, driven by 5G, IoT and cloud, it is time for a new CEO to step in and continue the work to ensure Ericsson's industry leadership". Vestberg made a presentation about Verizon's 5G plans in a panel discussion at the CES show in Las Vegas in January.

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His appointment comes as Verizon and other wireless carriers are racing to develop a 5G network that would deliver faster speeds.

Vestberg said in an interview Verizon would keep pursuing its current 5G strategy but he did not "see anything new on the horizon" to pursue media content. During his tenure, Ericsson could not make huge deals in line with Nokia, the telecom equipment maker from Finland. Companies are bulking up in an attempt to grab as many consumers as they can.

Investors would be wondering if Verizon new CEO Vestberg is the right candidate to lead the telecom giant.

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Verizon shares fell less than 1 percent in early trading Friday.

The outgoing CEO said he believes in the power of change to drive long-term growth and innovation and for Verizon, the time for a change in leadership is now.

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