Verizon named Chief Technology Officer Hans Vestberg as its new CEO on Friday, surprising analysts and signaling the largest U.S. wireless company's priority is building the next-generation 5G network, not expanding further into media content.
Verizon is today announcing that its current CEO, Lowell McAdam, is leaving the position on August 1, 2018, exactly seven years after he took on the role. He will stay on as executive chairman through the end of the year. He pioneered the success of Verizon's switch to 4G LTE and has staged the company's plans to build a 5G wireless broadband network. In fact, not long after Verizon announced Vestberg as CEO, it announced that Stratton, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, informed the company of his decision to retire from the company by the end of this year.
Verizon has also been touting its upcoming 5G network, which promises to bring faster data speeds to businesses and consumers.
"For Verizon, the time for a change in leadership is now, and I am confident that Hans is the right person to bring Verizon through its next chapter", said McAdam in a statement.
Hans Vestberg, Verizon executive vice president and president of Global Networks and Chief Technology Officer, speaks during a panel discussion on 5G wireless broadband technology during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US January 10, 2018. The company also acquired 45 percent of Vodafone's $130 billion stake in Verizon Wireless, now the biggest technology deal of all time. Hans Vestberg, who has left as the CEO of Ericsson during a crisis period, joined Verizon in April 2017.
Verizon's stock has grown about 35% in McAdam's tenure according to the Wall Street Journal, better that AT&T. "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".
The lines between telecom and media are rapidly blurring though. Companies are now more focused on growing the number of customers with varied strategies.
But McAdam expressed confidence about his successor.