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Ex-Ericsson CEO to run Verizon’s new networks team

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Verizon has announced a new operating structure that unifies its networks and technology development teams. The US operator says this will help it “better serve rapidly changing customer needs and accelerate the deployment of next-generation technology”.

Effective April 3, Verizon has hired Hans Vestberg, former CEO of Ericsson, as executive vice president for its new Network and Technology team. Vestberg will report to Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam and will lead an organisation responsible for further developing the architecture of Verizon’s fibre-centric networks.

McAdam said: “This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers.”

Verizon says its Network and Technology team will focus on delivering “seamless network experiences for customers, whether on Wi-Fi, fibre, 4G, 5G or future technologies”. The formation of a single business unit responsible for all network technology recognises the importance to Verizon of its NG-PON2 roll-out, which promises to provide a unified infrastructure for delivering residential, mobile and business services in future (see Verizon evaluates suppliers ahead of NG-PON2 deployment).

After the reorganisation, Verizon will have three business units: Network and Technology, Media and Telematics, and Customer and Product Operations.

Vestberg, who served for six years as CEO of Ericsson before leaving last July, leads the US-based team responsible for further developing the architecture for Verizon’s fibre-centric networks. He will initially be based in Sweden, and is expected to move to the US later this spring.

Verizon’s network assets consist of what the company says is the country’s leading 4G LTE network, the largest 5G test-bed in the US, the nation’s biggest residential fibre network, a global internet backbone and undersea cable network, and – with the recent acquisition of XO Communications – fibre assets in 45 of the top 50 markets in the US.

Marni Walden becomes executive vice president for Media and Telematics. This business will focus on growing Verizon’s portfolio of new businesses in digital media and telematics. The combination of AOL with the assets of Yahoo will give Verizon more than 1.3 billion digital media users and generate $7 billion in revenue. Walden’s team will be responsible for integrating these businesses and building market share. In addition, Walden will continue to lead Verizon’s integration and expansion of its telematics (connected car and fleet management) portfolio acquired through its purchases of Hughes Telematics, Fleetmatics and Telogis.

The Customer and Product Operations team being led by John Stratton will focus on operating and growing Verizon’s established businesses, which include: Verizon Wireless, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Verizon Partner Solutions, Verizon Consumer Markets and Verizon Business Markets. These businesses generate more than $120 billion in annual revenue and serve more than 120 million customers. Stratton will also lead operations and sales for the Internet of Things products and services, including smart communities.

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