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Verizon nabs AWS exec to oversee sales to feds

Verizon said Jennifer Chronis would lead its "Federal" business starting in early August. The operation sits inside of Verizon's "Public Sector" unit – part of the business-focused division of the company – and handles sales to government users.

For the past four years, Chronis has been the general manager of Amazon Web Services' (AWS) work with the US Department of Defense (DOD).

In a release announcing the new hire, Verizon noted that Chronis during her time at AWS "helped the DoD accelerate cloud adoption, increase efficiency, enable deeper innovation and improve mission effectiveness."

Left unsaid though by Verizon is the fact that Chronis was also at AWS during the company's ill-fated efforts to win the DoD's massive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, estimated to be worth $10 billion.

In a well-publicized setback, the DoD awarded that contract to AWS rival Microsoft last year – a development that Amazon loudly blamed on President Trump's vendetta against Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos. The Pentagon investigated those allegations without conclusive results, and now the issue has settled into a very public dispute between Amazon and Microsoft that likely will be settled in the courtroom.

The episode may have soured the relationship between Chronis and AWS, and positioned the former US Army officer as someone Verizon believes could add some juice to its Federal operation.

"Jennifer has spent more than two decades serving Federal civilian and defense clients and serving in the military, giving her the unusual ability to experience technology-driven business transformation from the provider and customer perspectives," Andrés Irlando, president of Verizon's Public Sector division, said in a release. "She has demonstrated the ability to improve business performance, build strong relationships with customers and business partners, and help her Federal clients achieve their missions."

Michael Maiorana, Verizon's current Federal business lead, will leave the company at the end of this year.

Chronis joins Verizon roughly a year after the company reorganized around two major divisions: the business unit (responsible for all sales to business users) and the consumer unit (responsible for all sales to consumers). Verizon's business division comprises four main segments: Wholesale; Global Enterprise; Small and Medium Business; and Public Sector. The Public Sector operation accounted for $1.5 billion of Verizon's revenues in the second quarter, a figure that has remained unchanged for 12 months.

Chronis's move to Verizon is part of a tightening relationship between telecom operators and cloud computing providers. Telecom companies are increasingly pushing their operations into the cloud, while cloud computing companies are inking deeper partnerships with telecom network operators in the arena of edge computing. Indeed, Verizon announced an extensive edge computing agreement with AWS late last year.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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