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Verizon restructures operations, taps former Ericsson CEO Vestberg to run network and technology

Vestberg set to head Verizon Network and Technology division, with focus on carrier efforts on Wi-Fi, fiber, 4G and 5G technologies.

Verizon Communications announced an operations restructuring focused on a trio of business segments, with former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg tapped to head the carrier’s network efforts on Wi-Fi, fiber, 4G and “5G” technologies.

The restructuring is set to take effect April 3, with operations focused under Media and Telematics; Customer and Product Operations; and Network and Technology operations. Verizon said the move will allow it to “better serve rapidly changing customer needs and accelerate the deployment of next-generation technology.”

“This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers,” explained Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. “It will give us greater organizational agility 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 is set to slide into the organization as EVP for the Network and Technology division where he will report directly to McAdam. In the role, Verizon said Vestberg will be responsible for “further developing the architecture of Verizon’s fiber-centric networks.”

Vestberg is set to initially be based in his native Sweden, but is expected to join the U.S.-based leadership team “later this spring.”

Vestberg abruptly left Ericsson last July, following six years of leadership and continued financial struggles despite drastic cost-cutting efforts. Ericsson had been cutting jobs for several years as part of an effort to reduce costs and the final earnings report under Vestberg suggested reports of more layoffs were to come.

As part of his departure, Vestberg was said to be available to support Ericsson’s board and management during a six-month period.

Marni Walden, current EVP and president of innovation and new businesses at Verizon, is set to assume the role of EVP for Media and Telematics and continue reporting to McAdam. In the role, Walden will be tasked with scaling the businesses into “major contributors to Verizon’s future growth.”

The division is set to include the company’s digital media businesses, which includes its recently acquired AOL and Yahoo assets, and its telematics business, which includes its Hughes Telematics, Fleetmatics and Telogis operations.

John Stratton, who currently serves as EVP and president of operations, will assume the new role of EVP for Customer and Product Operations and also continue reporting to McAdam. The operator said the business division will focus on operating and growing its Verizon Wireless, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Verizon Partner Solutions, Verizon Consumer Markets and Verizon Business Markets.

Stratton’s role will see him focus on growing those “core” businesses and also lead operations and sales for the telecommunication operator’s internet of things products and services.

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