Verizon (NYSE: VZ) yesterday appointed John Stratton as the new chief of its wireless business, replacing Dan Mead, who had been the CEO of Verizon Wireless since 2010. Mead will stay with the company to oversee the sale of Verizon's wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas to Frontier Communications, and will retire after that.
With the departure of Mead, all of the nation's Tier 1 wireless carriers now have relatively new leadership. In September 2012, T-Mobile tapped John Legere, the former CEO of Global Crossing, to be its new CEO. Legere has since reinvigorated T-Mobile, scoring millions of new customers in the process.
In August 2014, Sprint named Brightstar Corp. founder Marcelo Claure as its next CEO, replacing Dan Hesse, who had been at the helm of the nation's No. 3 carrier since December 2007. A few weeks later, AT&T promoted Glenn Lurie to be CEO of AT&T Mobility. Lurie was previously the president of AT&T Mobility's Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships business. Ralph de la Vega, who was previously AT&T Mobility's CEO, now has a new title of CEO of AT&T's Mobile & Business Solutions Group.
Verizon announced its leadership change in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verizon said Mead has been appointed to a new role as executive vice president and president of strategic initiatives, and will be responsible for directing the transfer of Verizon's wireline operations to Frontier. Mead will continue to report to Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam, and "expects to retire following the completion of the strategic initiatives on which he is working," according to the filing. The two companies hope to complete the transaction in the first half of 2016.
Stratton, who has served as executive vice president and president of Verizon's global enterprise and consumer wireline business, will take on a new role as executive vice president and president of operations, with operational responsibility for Verizon's wireless and wireline businesses.
In September 2010, Verizon named Mead as the CEO of Verizon Wireless. At the same time, Verizon Wireless chief McAdam was tapped to be CEO of Verizon Communications. Verizon assumed full control of its wireless unit in February 2014 following its $130 billion to acquire Vodafone's 45 percent stake in the unit.
In December 2011 Stratton was tasked with leading Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a new global business unit spanning its wireless and wireline operations that housed all of its business, government and wholesale operations. Stratton certainly has a great deal of experience in the wireless business: He has previously been Verizon Wireless' CMO and was named COO of Verizon Wireless in the fall of 2010.
Verizon spokeswoman Debi Lewis declined to comment beyond the filing other than to say, "we're all focused on delivering value for all our customers." Lewis said no one is replacing Stratton's former role, since, as the filing notes, he will be in charge of Verizon's wireless and wireline operations.
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