Hans Vestberg, the former CEO of Ericsson and the current executive vice president of global networks and CTO of Verizon, will become CEO of the telecom giant August 1. He’ll replace long-time CEO Lowell McAdam who will retire and become non-executive chairman of the company.
Vestberg is a relative newcomer to Verizon, he joined the company in April 2017. However, he is no stranger to the telecom industry. He spent most of his career at infrastructure vendor Ericsson, where he was the company’s CEO for six years. He was ousted from Ericsson in July 2016 after the company experienced several quarters of struggling earnings.
Vestberg is well-regarded by other telecom executives and was considered a shining star in the industry. He recently participated in a high-profile keynote panel session on 5G at CES 2018 with fellow top executives from Baidu and Qualcomm.
He has long been a champion for 5G and has been heading up Verizon’s efforts to deploy 5G. The company has said it will launch a pre-standard 5G fixed wireless offering in three to five markets this year.
Vestberg’s elevation to CEO is somewhat of a change for Verizon. Past chief executives, like McAdam, have spent years at the company and headed up different divisions before being elevated to CEO.
John Stratton, Verizon’s EVP and president of global operations, was thought to be a strong contender for the top job. Stratton started his career at Bell Atlantic Mobile in 1993 and has worked for Verizon since it was created in 2000. According to The Wall Street Journal, Stratton will retire from the company sometime this year.
In a statement, McAdam said that the time is right for Verizon to have a change in leadership. “I am confident that Hans is the right person to bring Verizon through its next chapter,” he said.
McAdam was named CEO of Verizon in 2011. During his time as CEO, McAdam oversaw the company’s deployment of 4G LTE and its acquisitions of major media, fiber, and telematics assets, including AOL, Yahoo, and XO Communications.