Verizon names former O2 UK CEO Dunne president of wireless

Verizon Communications named former O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne as executive vice president and group president of its wireless business.

Dunne will begin next month and will report to John Stratton, executive vice president and president of operations for the company. Dunn spent the last eight years as CEO of O2 UK, which is owned by Telefonica SA.

"Ronan brings a wealth of expertise, as well as global wireless perspective and experience to Verizon Wireless," Stratton said in prepared remarks. "He has a proven record of performance in highly competitive environments. We look forward to his leadership as Verizon continues to invest in and evolve our wireless business to provide the best experience for our customers."

Dunne stepped down as CEO of O2 UK in July after a proposed sale of the carrier to CK Hutchison collapsed in the face of European Union opposition. Telefonica then shelved an alternative plan to sell a stake in the unit.

O2's customer base reportedly increased to 25 million from 18 million during Dunne's tenure. He will be responsible "for all aspects of Verizon Wireless' operations," Verizon said, including marketing and network operations and customer care.

The executive joins the largest U.S. mobile network operator during a transitional period. Verizon is moving aggressively beyond its core wireless business as growth in the U.S. smartphone market has slowed significantly over the last two years. Verizon recently agreed to buy Yahoo's core online business for $4.38 billion to expand its digital media business, and earlier this week it announced plans to spend $2.4 billion to acquire Fleetmatics and step up its pursuit of the telematics market.

The newfound strategy may have been a factor in Verizon's move to look beyond its current front office for leadership. "VZ executive pool conservative," William Ho of 556 Ventures tweeted. "Needed outsider with legit wireless ops knowledge & 'street fighter' competitive streak."

For more:
- see this Verizon press release

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