Verizon hires former Ericsson CEO to lead new Network and Technology division

Vestberg is tasked with delivering seamless user experiences across Verizon's networks. Image: Verizon

Verizon has tapped former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg as it restructures its business to focus on three primary areas.

Vestberg, who was ousted from his post at Ericsson in July, was named executive vice president for the new Network and Technology team and will report directly to CEO Lowell McAdam when he starts Monday. Vestberg is tasked with “further developing the architecture of Verizon’s fiber-centric networks” and will be based in Sweden initially before joining the company in the U.S. in the next few months.

The other two areas of business are Media and Telematics, which will be led by Marni Walden, and Customer and Product Operations, led by John Stratton. Both Walden and Stratton will continue to report to McAdam.

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“This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers,” McAdam said. “It will give us greater organizational ability to continue to lead the market with our wireless and fiber services, scale and expand our media and telematics businesses, and maintain the leadership in network reliability and new technology that is a Verizon trademark.”

Vestberg was at the helm of Ericsson for nearly seven years before stepping down as the Swedish company continued to struggle in a competitive worldwide market for telecom gear. That move followed reports that Ericsson’s two largest shareholders had been pushing for his ouster.

Verizon’s Network and Technology division will focus on “delivering seamless network experiences for customers” across networks including Wi-Fi, fiber, 4G, 5G and future technologies. Verizon cited Vestberg’s network experience, noting that Ericsson provides 35% of the world’s 2G, 3G and 4G network infrastructures.

Vestberg’s hiring comes as Verizon and other carriers are looking to expand their fixed-line footprints to lay the foundation for 5G. Earlier this year the operator closed on its $1.8 billion acquisition of XO Communications, giving it access to fiber assets in 45 of the top 50 markets in the U.S.

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