Hans Vestberg is executive vice president and president of network and technology for Verizon. But it’s really Vestberg’s past that puts him on this list.
Before joining Verizon in April, Vestberg was CEO of one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment suppliers: Ericsson. Vestberg joined Sweden’s Ericsson in 1991, serving in various leadership positions including CFO. In 2009, Vestberg was named as Ericsson’s CEO, where “he led more than 150,000 employees as the company transformed from a focus on hardware to software and services,” according to his biography from Verizon.
But Ericsson clearly faced challenges during Vestberg’s tenure, and he was outed in a corporate reorganization earlier this year. Most in the industry expected Vestberg to leverage his credentials and experience to lead another equipment vendor—so his appointment as head of network for U.S.-based Verizon came as a bit of a shock.
But Vestberg is uniquely positioned today to oversee Verizon’s next major network effort: 5G. In his position, Vestberg is responsible for developing “the architecture for Verizon’s fiber-centric networks,” according to Verizon. That means handling Verizon’s 4G network, building out its 5G efforts, managing the nation’s biggest residential fiber network, as well as a global internet backbone and undersea cable network “carrying much of the world’s internet traffic,” as Verizon noted.
Indeed, as Verizon works to combat upstart T-Mobile in wireless and AT&T’s growth efforts with Time Warner, Vestberg has a decidedly unique viewpoint based on his history at Ericsson and his current responsibilities at Verizon.