Verizon’s Vestberg puts Kyle Malady in charge of 5G build-out, but details unclear

Verizon's Kyle Malady is now in charge of Verizon's 5G network build-out. (Verizon)

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg unveiled his first major action since taking the reins at the company this summer: a wide-ranging reorganization that essentially splits the company between consumer and enterprise sales efforts. Importantly, Vestberg named Kyle Malady as the head of the company’s new Global Network & Technology organization, the unit in charge of building out Verizon’s 5G network.

“In the past three months, I’ve been meeting and listening to you, our customers, and investors. What I heard was a pride, dedication and commitment to our customers, our organization and values. What’s also unmistakable is we can be even better, that we have a lot of potential just waiting to be unlocked,” Vestberg wrote in a letter to Verizon employees this morning. The full letter is available at the end of this article. “Today, I want to share how we will organize our team to better take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us. I like to call it … Verizon 2.0, ‘Building tomorrow with the best of today.’”

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Starting in January, Verizon will be split between Ronan Dunne’s consumer-facing division and Tami Erwin’s business-facing division. Dunne, currently the chief executive of Verizon’s wireless business, will head up the “Verizon Consumer Group” that will include the consumer segment for both the company’s wireless and wireline businesses, including wireless wholesale.

Separately, Verizon’s new “Verizon Business Group” will include the company’s wireless and wireline enterprise, small and medium business, and government businesses, as well as wireline wholesale and Verizon Connect, the company’s telematics business. It will be led by Tami Erwin, who is currently the EVP of Verizon’s wireless operations. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the changes are a promotion for Erwin, who started her career at Verizon as a wireless customer-service representative and rose within the company to hold several senior positions.

Finally, Verizon’s Oath business will become the “Verizon Media Group,” though it currently retains the Oath brand, and it will be headed by Guru Gowrappan. Gowrappan was promoted as CEO of Oath following the departure of AOL executive Tim Armstrong from Oath due to reported disagreements with Verizon leadership over the future of the company’s media business.

Verizon’s corporate staff will remain largely the same:

  • Finance, led by Matt Ellis.
  • Strategy & New Business Development, led by Rima Qureshi.

  • Marketing, led by Diego Scotti.

  • Public Policy, Legal & Security, led by Craig Silliman.

  • CAO, led by Marc Reed.

Although Vestberg named Malady as head of Verizon’s new Global Network and Technology unit, the company did not provide any more details about the structure of its network effort. Specifically the company declined to answer questions about other top executives—including David Small, Bill Stone, Sanyogita Shamsunder and Nicola Palmer—who have recently represented the company’s network build-out efforts in public settings.

Malady was named as Verizon’s interim CTO this summer shortly after Vestberg moved into the CEO position, taking over from Lowell McAdam (Vestberg himself joined Verizon as the company’s CTO in 2017).

Malady has served as Verizon’s SVP and chief network officer of wireline for the past several years. Previously, Malady was vice president-new product development at Verizon Wireless, where he had responsibility for developing new products and services and played a key role in launching platforms such as VCast Music and Video, VZ Navigator, Push to Talk, VZ MobileWeb, the Verizon App Store and other platforms. He also played key roles in the development and commercialization of other network based platforms such as LTE and device operating systems such as Android. Malady began his career in 1989 with NYNEX Mobile Communication.

Malady’s new position at Verizon is key considering the company has placed a serious bet on the success of 5G. Further, Malady is likely part of Verizon’s ongoing efforts to shave $10 billion in costs by 2021, an effort partly involving a reduction in network expenses.

Vestberg’s announcement today was foreshadowed last month by a Bloomberg report that Vestberg was working to overhaul the company’s top leadership and plans to unveil his long-term strategy for the company later this year.

Vestberg’s reorganization of Verizon comes just months after AT&T confirmed that Jeff McElfresh will take over command of AT&T’s Technology and Operations division—the operation in charge of AT&T’s own 5G network build-out.

Verizon employees received this letter at 7 a.m.

                                                                                                      November 5, 2018

V Team,                                                                                  

By now you’ve all heard me say how excited I am about the future of our company. Today is no different.

In the past three months, I’ve been meeting and listening to you, our customers, and investors. What I heard was a pride, dedication and commitment to our customers, our organization and values. What’s also unmistakable is we can be even better, that we have a lot of potential just waiting to be unlocked.

Today, I want to share how we will organize our team to better take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us. I like to call it… Verizon 2.0, “Building tomorrow with the best of today. “

The structure will follow a clear strategy, one that includes:·         Being a recognized leader in customer satisfaction. This requires hard work and that’s why we are building best-in-class digital experiences, across all products and services, for all customers.

·         Continuing our “first to” leadership with 5G and set industry standards with our Intelligent Edge Network architecture.

·         Growing our Network-as-a-Service solutions to deliver seamless experiences to any customer segment.

·         Growing our services above the network layer with Oath and Connect and expanding into new growth industries.

·         Inviting our strategic partners to play a larger role in our ecosystem.

·         Creating an environment that embraces change, encourages curiosity and strategic risk taking, while inspiring all of us.

Our strategy is designed to elevate one of the most successful companies in the world to the greatest company in the world.  It’s a big leap and in order to realize this vision, it has to start with our customers. Today we begin this journey by reorienting our operating structure more towards our customers.

We will transform and begin operating under this structure in January 2019.

Customer-facing Operating Groups including:

  • Consumer, led by Ronan Dunne
  • Business, led by Tami Erwin

  • Media/Oath, led by Guru Gowrappan

A Global Network and Technology Organization led by Kyle Malady

Corporate staff functions including:

  • Finance, led by Matt Ellis
  • Strategy & New Business Development, led by Rima Qureshi

  • Marketing, led by Diego Scotti

  • Public Policy, Legal & Security, led by Craig Silliman

  • CAO, led by Marc Reed

This is a big change that you will likely have questions about. Think about it for the next few hours and join me for a webcast today at 2:00 PM ET. The team and I will address your questions.

We have a lot to be proud of at Verizon. Our network leadership, our dedication to serving our customers, and our talented V Team are all strengths we must preserve as we begin this new era.

It’s my privilege to lead this team, guided by a shared purpose: Deliver the promise of the digital world by enabling people, businesses and society to innovate and drive positive change.

Thank you all for your support during this transition period. As always, the team – V Team – will make the difference.

Hans V