New York (AFP) – Former Ericsson chief executive Hans Vestberg was named Friday as the new CEO of US telecom group Verizon, succeeding Lowell McAdam as of August 1.
Vestberg, 52, is currently chief technology officer and head of global networks for Verizon, the leading US wireless telecom group which also owns the AOL and Yahoo brands and is a major broadband provider.
McAdam, 64, who has been CEO since 2011, will serve as executive chairman until the end of next year, when he will retire and become non-executive chairman, a Verizon statement said.
Under McAdam, Verizon took over the stake in the important wireless unit from Britain’s Vodafone and built a customer base of more than 150 million.
He also led efforts to buy faded internet stars AOL and Yahoo to create a digital media operation within the firm, under the brand known as Oath.
Vestberg, a native of Sweden, served for six years as president and CEO of that country’s big telecom-networking group Ericsson before moving to Verizon.
He takes over as telecom firms race to build fifth-generation, or 5G networks expected to lead to an array of new services such as telemedicine and autonomous vehicles.
The transition also comes amid a pending tie-up between number three and four carriers T-Mobile and Sprint, subject to regulatory review.
Verizon’s main competitor, AT&T, is seeking a transformation with the purchase of media-entertainment giant Time-Warner, a deal being challenged by US antitrust authorities.
“I am humbled to be appointed CEO of Verizon at such an exciting and dynamic time for our company and industry,” 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.”