CEO Hans Vestberg is changing Verizon leadership to focus on 5G

Will Verizon transform into a leader, or remain a follower going forward? New Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is interviewing every existing senior executive. He wants to find the real leaders that can help the company grow with the new 5G wireless growth opportunity. Will it work?

5g wireless mobile data connection

It sounds like new Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is making some serious leadership changes. I think this is exactly what he needs to do. The reason is his desire for Verizon to be a leader once again in the coming 5G wireless revolution. If they want to be a leader, not a follower going forward, then they need to make some serious changes. Good goal. Next question, will he be successful?

Over the last decade, Verizon has been a mixed bag of successes and failures. Over that time, they have generally rewarded investors and had happy customers. They are the highest priced competitor, but their network is no better than AT&T. They used to be a leader in the wireless and telecom space, but that was a long time ago.

Today, they are a follower, not a leader. As we move to 5G, it will transform not only the wireless industry, but every other industry as well. That’s why it is very important for every 5G wireless player to have a high profile.

5G growth opportunity for AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint

That’s why Verizon needs to re-invent itself. Today their image is not seen as an industry leader. Why they fell behind has always been a mystery to me.

As an example, consider how 5G will impact the pay TV industry. It will be fast enough to carry a pay TV signal to the home and office. That means, new competitors in the pay TV space will come in and start to compete wirelessly.

5G will being so many changes to the way we use our smartphones, but it will also transform other industries. There is quite a bit of growth opportunity for the wireless networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint.

In this mix AT&T and T-Mobile have the highest profile positions. Verizon and Sprint are too quiet for their own good.

In today’s marketplace, we have learned that competitors need to generate excitement and noise. While Verizon has a good reputation, they have two weak areas. One, they are the highest priced carrier in the industry. Two, they have been too quiet for their own good.

Can CEO Vestberg transform Verizon from follower to leader?

That’s what needs to change. So, this is the question. Can Vestberg transform Verizon from a follower to a leader? He is interviewing every senior level executive at the company and will decide who will lead different parts.

This is very nerve wracking for the executives but should let the best rise to the top like cream. However, while this is tough for executives, I think this attitude may be good for the company, long term.

Verizon used to be a leader in the changing wireless and communications space. In the past, they have made many moves which have not only transformed the company but have kept up with the changing industry.

However, in the last decade they have been too introverted, and they made many mistakes. They were less interested in building their image by focusing on public relations, advertising and marketing. Their efforts in these areas have been very soft. Too quiet for their own good.

During the last year, they have done a better job in their television advertising, talking about how Verizon works with other industries, helping them to transform and improve. This has been a welcome change. While that alone is not enough, it is a great start.

Now Vestberg has stepped into the CEO position. This is where he needs to take Verizon. As I have been saying, it really depends what they do next. Under their new CEO, will they have a higher profile? Will they now be known as a leader or continue as a follower?

To be successful as the wireless industry transforms to 5G, networks need to attract attention to themselves. They need to lead. They need to build their retail and their wholesale business. They need to focus on their wireless and wire line business. This is something Verizon has not done a good job at for the last decade.

So, will Vestberg be successful at changing the direction of the company’s efforts? That’s the big question. I think he looks like he is doing the right thing by interviewing every existing senior executive. It will keep company executives on their toes.

If he keeps the best and continues to move forward, Verizon may once again become an industry leader. If not, it will remain a quiet spot in the noisy industry. Now, we wait and see what happens next.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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