Verizon Taps Wireless CEO to Likely Succeed Seidenberg

The heir to Seidenberg has effectively been named.

Verizon Communications Inc. announced its new COO on Monday, tapping the head of Verizon Wireless, Lowell C. McAdam to start work Oct. 1. That puts him, like Joe Biden to Obama, next in line for the top position, currently occupied by Ivan Seidenberg. 

The choice to promote its wireless chief to COO and likely beyond is indicative of where the company sees the future headed; the earnings statements clearly show wireless, FiOS and business services leading the way to profitability as Verizons traditional residential business continues to wane. To McAdams credit, Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Vodafone plc and Verizon Communications, has had a number of high-profile wireless successes of late, including overtaking AT&T Inc. as the No. 1 cellco in the United States. The 2009 acquisition of Alltel Corp. in 2009 is widely seen as a savvy strategic move, filling out Verizons regional footprint and spectrum holdings. Also, the launch of the Droid family of handsets based on the Google Android platform has given the company a big foothold in the touchscreen smartphone game as well, helping to fend off any drag from having to compete against the iPhone.

Also worth noting is the fact that Verizons 4G plans are among the most aggressive in the world for commercial LTE deployment (covering 100 million PoPs in the United States by the end of the year). 4G is expected to not only provide more wind in the sails for Verizon Wireless, but it will offer Verizon Communications the opportunity to leverage broadband everywhere” integrated service bundles. With multi-screen television and video strategies on the rise as competitive differentiators among traditional LECs and cablecos, and the battle for the connected home reaching a fever pitch, wireless expertise when it comes to company vision could prove not just valuable but a necessity.

The appointment announced Monday follows news last week that CFO John Killian, in the job a mere 18 months, will retire at the end of the year. That left many wondering about the line of succession; Verizons 63-year-old CEO Seidenberg has been at the job for a decade and will likely retire sooner rather than later.

McAdam took the helm of Verizon Wireless in 2007 after spending seven years as its COO, since the JV was founded.  His replacement will be Daniel Mead, Verizon Wireless current COO.

Meanwhile, Frank Shammo, head of Verizon Telecom and Business, will succeed Killian as CFO beginning Nov. 1.

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