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Verizon names former Ericsson chief as new CEO

09 June 2018

Verizon chief technology officer Hans Vestberg will become the company's new CEO in August.

The appointment of Hans Vestberg indicates that the key strategy of Verizon, the number one telecom operator in the USA, will be in the building up of 5G, the next-generation of wireless network and not expanding into media content, Reuters reported. Companies are bulking up in an attempt to grab as many consumers as they can.

Current CEO Lowell McAdam will serve as executive chairman through year-end, and non-executive chairman thereafter.

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Verizon tapped a technology expert as it races against other wireless carriers to develop a 5G network that would deliver faster speeds. Now Vestberg will lead the entire company.

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

The company said today that "Vestberg has spearheaded Verizon's efforts to deliver seamless experiences for customers over the company's network, while demonstrating a willingness to disrupt established processes and practices to make Verizon stronger and more efficient". Then in July 2016, Ericsson's board thanked Vestberg for his energy and leadership and said it was time for a new CEO to run Ericsson. He is also Vice Chairman of Hexagon and a board member of the UN Foundation, the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, and Childhood US (part of the Queen of Sweden's World Childhood Foundation).

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McAdam sought instead to diversify Verizon's business by investing in digital content. Nomura expected other executives to leave Verizon after the appointment. Verizon's says it has returned more than $54 billion to shareholders in cash dividends since 2011.

During McAdam's tenure Verizon has made more than $120 billion in capital investments, including spectrum purchases, to enhance its networks, focused on deals to grow its wireless, media and broadband services.

Under McAdam, Verizon expanded into content when it bought media sites AOL and Yahoo, creating a media division called Oath previous year, which also owns sites like Tumblr and HuffPost.

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Just two years ago, Vestberg was CEO of Ericsson as the vendor struggled to cut costs in the face of declining demand for its LTE infrastructure.

Verizon names former Ericsson chief as new CEO