Verizon Names Wireless Chief McAdam As COO

Decision to promote the champion of Verizon's move into CDMA and LTE wireless clarifies the firm's succession plans when current CEO Ivan Seidenberg retires.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

September 20, 2010

3 Min Read

Lowell McAdam -- COO, Verizon Communications

Lowell McAdam -- COO, Verizon Communications

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Lowell McAdam COO, Verizon Communications

The Monday headline from Verizon Communications said it all: "Verizon Clarifies Succession Plans; Names Lowell McAdam as COO."

The announcement puts McAdam, who has been CEO of Verizon Wireless over the past decade, on track to eventually take over the CEO's post from Ivan Seidenberg when he formally retires, probably in the next year or two. In his new position, McAdam will report to Seidenberg beginning Oct. 1.

"The appointment of McAdam by the Verizon Board of Directors is an important step in the succession process for when Seidenberg retires from the company," according to the Verizon announcement. "McAdam will have responsibility for the operations of Verizon's network-based businesses -- Verizon Wireless and Verizon Telecom and Business -- as well as Verizon Service Operations."

McAdams ascension is not a surprise. Under his direction, Verizon's wireless operation has become the main engine of the former Baby Bell's financial success in recent quarters. He presided over the firm's once-controversial move to CDMA, which has given Verizon a robust wireless network, and has promoted Verizon's move to long-term evolution (LTE), the super-robust wireless network scheduled to debut in 30 U.S. cities by the end of the year.

"The Board's selection of Lowell to this key, central position underscores its commitment to reward success while working with me to prepare our company for an executive transition in the future. Lowell is undeniably the right executive at the right time, given his track record of growth while managing one of the most dynamic and successful businesses in America," Seidenberg said in a statement. Seidenberg is 64 and McAdam is 56.

Verizon also announced additional executive changes. Daniel S. Mead, now executive VP and COO at Verizon Wireless, will become its president and CEO, and John G. Stratton will succeed Mead as COO of the wireless unit. Stratton has been serving as chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless.

Current president of Verizon Telecom and Business, Francis J. Shammo, was named executive VP and CFO of Verizon Communications. He succeeds John F. Killian, who previously announced his plans to retire.

McAdam, a licensed professional engineer, will also be in charge of Verizon's CIO and technology management functions. During his stint at Verizon Wireless, the wireless unit's financials reached more than $62 billion, representing more than half of the entire company's $108 billion revenue total. Verizon Wireless is 45%-owned by Vodafone Group.

Verizon Communications was cobbled together in a series of Baby Bell mergers after the old AT&T was broken up in antitrust action more than two decades ago. The new AT&T, which was also assembled by merging former Baby Bells, is Verizon's major competitor.

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