Verizon to Replace Lowell McAdam as Chief Executive

Verizon to Replace Lowell McAdam as Chief Executive

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Verizon to Replace Lowell McAdam as Chief Executive - The New York Times
Hans E. Vestberg, Verizon’s incoming chief executive, is a relative newcomer to the company, having joined in April 2017 from Ericsson.CreditDavid Ramos/Getty Images

The telecom giant Verizon said on Friday that it would replace its chief executive with its head of technology, just as it and other wireless carriers grapple with new technologies and a wave of consolidation in the fast-changing industry.

In a statement, Verizon said its chief executive, Lowell C. McAdam, would be replaced by the chief technology officer, Hans E. Vestberg, on Aug. 1. The choice of Mr. Vestberg — who has overseen in particular the deployment of next-generation 5G mobile services — points to the importance that Verizon places on the new technology, which will dramatically increase download speeds and open up an array of potential new services.

“I am humbled to be appointed C.E.O. of Verizon at such an exciting and dynamic time for our company and industry,” Mr. Vestberg said in the statement. “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.”

Mr. Vestberg is a relative newcomer to Verizon, having joined the company in April 2017 from the Swedish telecom company Ericsson, where he had been chief executive.

Mr. McAdam became chief executive in August 2011. During his tenure, he took big steps to prepare Verizon for the upheaval now shaking up the telecommunications industry. In that time, the company’s share price has increased nearly 40 percent, to $49.01.

In 2013, he bought out Vodafone’s stake in Verizon’s wireless business for $130 billion, a transaction years in the making. Doing so gave Mr. McAdam and his team more control over the company’s most important business at a crucial time.

Mr. McAdam also helped steer Verizon into the business of digital content, an effort to make the company more than a provider of phone and internet services. He spent billions buying companies like AOL and Yahoo.

The telecommunications industry has undergone rapid change in recent years, as companies have pursued ever-bigger deals in the manner of Verizon.

Companies like Sprint and T-Mobile, which are themselves in the midst of a planned merger, contend that building a 5G network requires tens of billions of dollars in investments that only an enormous corporation can make. Other companies have sought to retain customers by offering them a wider array of services — Comcast, for example, has won hundreds of thousands of customers for its mobile phone service by bundling it with cable television plans.

Mr. Vestberg’s rise to the top of Verizon also comes as companies around the world are stepping up preparations for the advent of 5G services. Though costly to introduce, analysts say, such technology will make tasks like streaming entertainment faster and easier, and provide a foundation for further advances in sectors like autonomous vehicles and internet-connected devices.

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