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Verizon Hires Ex-Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, Eyes U.S. Internet Pay-TV Launch

Verizon has reorganized into three main operating divisions, with the newly created Network and Technology team to be headed by former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg.

The telco announced that Vestberg will join Verizon effective April 3 as EVP of the new Network and Technology team, reporting chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. Vestberg — who served as Ericsson’s CEO for six years — initially will be based in Sweden, and is expected to relocate to the U.S. later this spring.

Continuing to report to McAdam will be Marni Walden, as EVP of the Media and Telematics division, and John Stratton as EVP of Customer and Product Operations.

The move comes as Verizon is planning to enter the over-the-top pay-TV sector. As first reported by Bloomberg, Verizon is planning to launch an internet-delivered national TV service this summer with several dozen channels.

Verizon hasn’t disclosed specifics of the OTT pay-television service, which will be separate from the free, mobile-oriented Go90 offering. The company said Friday that Stratton will focus on “accelerating Verizon’s shift toward a digital-first model,” for the division that encompasses Verizon Wireless, business services and consumer wireline markets.

McAdam, in announcing the restructuring, said the move 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.”

Under Walden, the Media and Telematics division will include the combination of AOL with the assets of Yahoo. That will give Verizon more than 1.3 billion digital media users and represent $7 billion in annual revenue. The Yahoo deal is expected to close sometime in the second quarter.

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