'Surprise' Verizon CEO Appointment Speaks to Fiber Focus

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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.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam plans to retire from the company at the end of this year, and his successor will be Hans Vestberg, whose titles now include CTO, executive vice president, and president of global networks. He'll remain the CEO until the end of the year when he will be retiring. 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. Before joining Verizon, he worked at the networking and telecommunications company Ericsson, where he served six years as chief executive and president and also was chief financial officer.

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.

Verizon newcomer Hans Vestberg will step into the CEO role in August.

Verizon acquired Yahoo and AOL under McAdams administration.

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One of McAdam's signature deals was Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodafone's 45% stake in the US wireless company, a deal which gave the company full access to the profits from its mobile operations and the resources to invest in its mobile network and fend off challengers.

"As Lowell approached the retirement age it seemed less and less likely that he was willing to take on a large acquisition as he was about to exit the company", said Walt Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG LLC. Lowell has been a visionary leader, steering Verizon into new growth markets in wireless, the Internet of Things and digital media.

In this role, he led more than 115,000 employees as the company transformed from a focus on hardware to software and services. In 2016, unable to turn around slumping profits at Ericsson, Vestberg was ousted from the company. During his tenure, Ericsson could not make huge deals in line with Nokia, the telecom equipment maker from Finland.

But McAdam expressed confidence about his successor.

In a statement, Vestberg said, "We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the way users interact in the digital world, and we are racing ahead to remain at the forefront of technology, connectivity and mobility".

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