(Adds context, analyst quote)
By Anjali Athavaley
March 31 Verizon Communications Inc said
on Friday that Hans Vestberg, the former Ericsson chief
executive officer, has joined the company and will lead a team
building out its fiber network infrastructures amid growing
competition from smaller rivals.
"It shows with Vestberg that they want to go back to having
that network superiority, which has been increasingly eroded,"
said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.
The move also sets up Vestberg, 51, as a potential successor
to Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam, he said. The
No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier said Vestberg will initially be
based in Sweden but join the U.S.-based team later this spring.
"What bringing someone in for the outside means is you need
a new perspective," Entner said.
Verizon also said it is restructuring operations into three
areas including Vestberg's team. The media and telematics unit
will focus on new businesses in digital media, including
integrating its pending acquisition of Yahoo Inc. It
will be led by Marni Walden as executive vice president for
media and telematics.
The customer and product operations team, led by John
Stratton, will work on operating and growing Verizon's
established businesses, such as Verizon Wireless and Verizon
Walden and Stratton are also both seen as potential
successors to McAdam, according to industry analysts.
Vestberg was CEO of Ericsson, one of the
world’s largest equipment suppliers to the telecommunications
industry, for six years. He was ousted last year amid pressure
from shareholders unhappy with financial results amid pressure
from Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei.
Ericsson is working with Verizon on trials for a
next-generation 5G network, and Vestberg and McAdam have known
each other for years, industry watchers said.
(Additional reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Jeffrey Benkoe)