Verizon Communications named its executive vice president and CTO, Hans Vestberg, as its new CEO, taking effect August 1, according to a company announcement. Vestberg is replacing Lowell McAdam, who served as CEO since August 1, 2011.
The shift in executive leadership is "signaling" Verizon's intentions to build a 5G wireless network instead of exploring media content, reports Reuters. As CTO, Vestberg oversaw the development of Verizon's fiber-centric network architecture and an undersea cable network enabling international internet traffic, according to Verizon.
- Vestberg already has experience as CEO; he served as the chief executive and president of Ericsson, a telecommunications equipment company, from 2010 to 2016, according to his LinkedIn. Before serving as Ericsson's CEO, he was the company's CFO from 2007 to 2009.
The announcement highlighted Vestberg's "willingness to disrupt established processes," an important quality to a leader in any capacity. For a CEO or CIO, especially, a vision of disruption is vital.
Disruption is the foundation for any digital transformation effort, which leads to overall change in business strategy. But Vestberg's path from CFO to CEO to CTO and back to CEO is a refreshing track for any tech leader.
Creating a transparent line of communication among C-suite officials and their boards is key to "demystify [and] soften boundaries" with technology, according to Bruce Lee, SVP and head of operations and technology at Fannie Mae.
Vestberg has experience across lines of business, having spent time prioritizing a company's financials and strategizing the use of technology.. His background makes him well-equipped for simplifying and translating technical needs in terms of overall business impact.
In the technology industry in particular, 55% of CIOs report directly to their CEO, according to a Deloitte survey. But this is most common in organizations highly focussed on their own digital transformation or expansion, similar to Verizon's 5G goals.