Lowell McAdam is stepping down as CEO of Verizon Communications on Aug. 1, to be replaced by former Ericsson chief exec Hans Vestberg, the telco announced Friday.McAdam, 64, will serve as executive chairman of the board through his retirement from Verizon at the end of the year, at which time he will become non-executive chairman. His exit has been widely expected on Wall Street, but the company hadn't provided a clear picture of the succession plan.Now Verizon's board has made...
The downside of being the guy who has engineered some of the biggest deals in the digital media space in recent years is that expectations remain high for what he might do next. Lowell McAdam seems to spend more time than any CEO batting down rumors of acquiring everyone from Disney to Charter, a function of the perception that the already massive Verizon must continue to scale up to compete.
Under McAdam’s leadership, Verizon first took full ownership of itself, buying out Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in the company in 2014, then embarked upon a buying spree of outside companies. In 2015, it snatched up former dial-up email champion AOL (once valued at $166 billion), for $4.4 billion, giving it a suite of content brands, including The Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunch, as well as a sophisticated programmatic advertising platform. Then, in July 2016, it announced it was buying another diminished web 1.0 giant, Yahoo (once worth more than $125 billion), for $4.8 billion. Like AOL, it gave Verizon additional ad tech reach and a suite of digital content platforms.
McAdam also made a proactive move to target the increasing number of people consuming content on smartphones and tablets with Go90, a mobile-first entertainment platform that launched in the fall of 2015 with a broad slate of originals from both traditional and digital-native content providers. It’s been a slow going, but Verizon seems committed to establishing Go90.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps with an engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from the University of San Diego, McAdam has steered Verizon’s expansion into less glamorous tech sectors with the acquisition GPS vehicle fleet tracking firms Fleetmatics ($2.4 billion) and Telogis ($930 million).