Did anyone see this coming? Former Ericsson CEO and current Verizon CTO Hans Vestberg is to replace Lowell McAdam as the operator's CEO starting August 1.
McAdam, who has been with the company for 35 years, posted a message addressed to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) employees Friday saying that the decision was the culmination of a two-year plan. He also noted that the best time to transition a CEO is when things are going well: McAdam said that was also the case when he took over from Ivan Seidenberg in 2011, as the operator had just acquired full ownership of Verizon Wireless and was able to pursue a singular, focused strategy as a result.
McAdam, who is currently chairman and CEO, will remain as executive chairman of the board through the end of the year, and then serve as chairman in a non-executive capacity starting in 2019. Vestberg will, effectively, lead the company into the 5G era.
Of Vestberg, McAdam said: "I know that he has the right expertise, experience and business acumen to lead us forward and build on our strategy. Importantly, Hans is an inspiring leader, with high energy and a passion for delivering on the core values that truly make Verizon the world leader it is today."
Vestberg joined Verizon little more than a year ago as head of the network and technology team following a rather tumultuous end to his reign at Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). (See Former Ericsson CEO Vestberg to Be Verizon's King of Networks and Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg.)
Verizon's share price is trading down slightly at $48.62 following the news.
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading