Telecommunications Industry Association taps Gores Group executive Johnston as its new CEO

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has named Wes Johnston as its new CEO, succeeding interim CEO David Heard, who also serves as the organization’s board chairman.

A 25-year telecom industry veteran, Johnston comes to TIA from The Gores Group, a private equity firm that oversees a number of telecom companies such as Alpheus and Global Tel*Link.

Wes Johnston

TIA said that naming Johnston as CEO is part of the organization’s broader strategic initiative to “invest in, and stay ahead of, the changing needs of members and rapid industry advancements.”

RELATED: TIA CEO Belcher to step down as part of broader organizational change

Beside hiring Johnston, TIA recently enhanced its leadership team, adding four senior executives with deep communications, government and industry association experience.

During his tenure in the telecom industry, Johnston has held board and senior executive positions with large global technology firms, as well as with start-ups. At Gores, he was a board director with Alpheus Telecommunications, Elo Touch Systems, Imagine Communications and the Tweddle Group.

Before coming to the Gores Group, Johnston was EVP and CEO with technology integrator Dimension Data, a $6 billion information and communication technology firm where he led sales, marketing, solutions and service delivery in North and South America.

Johnston’s appointment comes at a transitional time for TIA.

In November 2016, TIA announced that Scott Belcher would step down at the end of the year as the industry organization hatched plans for a new leadership team.

Belcher became TIA's CEO in 2014. During his two-year tenure with TIA, he worked to provide more visibility for TIA’s annual trade show, which traces its roots back to the Supercomm show, and as an advocate for various telecom industry issues such as the ongoing TDM to IP transition, net neutrality and the FCC’s business data services review.

Belcher was succeeded by TIA board chairman David Heard, a 25-year telecom industry veteran who had various stints at a number of notable telecom vendors including Viavi, BigBand Networks and Alcatel-Lucent, now Nokia.