Verizon Targets 5G with New CEO Appointment

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Former Ericsson chief executive Hans Vestberg was named Friday as the new CEO of U.S. telecom group Verizon, succeeding Lowell McAdam as of Aug 1.

Vestberg's rise is a clear indication that Verizon, the biggest US wireless carrier, is prioritizing its network as it tries to take the lead in the race for faster networks known as 5G. Well enough for McAdam to want Vestberg to succeed him as CEO.

He's to become CEO at Verizon, effective August 1. Money reports that Vestberg will be taking over from Verizon current CEO Lowell MacAdam on August 1. McAdam will continue to serve as chairman of Verizon's board of directors beyond his retirement at the end of the year.

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In a statement, Vestberg said, "We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the way users interact in the digital world, and we are racing ahead to remain at the forefront of technology, connectivity and mobility". (NYSE:VZ) (Nasdaq:VZ) today announced that John Stratton, Executive Vice President and President of Global Operations, has informed the company of his decision to retire from Verizon by the end of 2018. "We look forward to continuing to benefit from his insights and leadership as Executive Chairman, and know he and Hans will ensure a seamless transition for our customers, employees, shareholders and partners".

Lars Soderfjell, a portfolio manager at Finnish bank Alandsbanken, which owns Ericsson shares, said Vestberg pushed to expand the company's services unit, which included managing networks for mobile operators.

Verizon has also been touting its upcoming 5G network, which promises to bring faster data speeds to businesses and consumers. Since that time, Verizon has made more than Dollars 120 billion in capital investments, in addition to AWS, Straight Path and other spectrum purchases, and pursued an M&A strategy focused on mobile, media and broadband services.

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Under McAdam, Verizon bought AOL and Yahoo.

Verizon has shown how serious it is about 5G. A longtime network infrastructure executive who has talked about the benefits of a "connected society", Vestberg was brought in to to lay out the company's next-generation network architecture, as well to integrate its various wireless and landline networks.

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