Verizon names head of wireless division as new COO

McAdam moves to No. 2 spot at communications giant in wake of CFO's retirement

One thing Wall Street really hates is confusion in the top ranks of large corporations. It creates doubt and fear, neither of which is good for share price.

Communications giant Verizon Communications on Monday moved to clarify its leadership hierarchy by announcing that the current head of its wireless division, Lowell C. McAdam, will take over as chief operating officer starting at the beginning of next month. In his new post, McAdam becomes the obvious successor to 63-year-old CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who has held the top spot for a decade.

Verizon announced McAdam's promotion only a week after revealing that chief financial officer John Killian will retire at the end of this year. Killian, in his post for less than two years, will be replaced by Francis J. Shammo, head of Verizon Telecom and Business, beginning Nov. 1.

McAdam will be succeeded as leader of Verizon Wireless by Daniel S. Mead, who has been the unit's executive vice president and COO. Mead will be replaced as COO by John G. Stratton, currently chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless.

McAdam has been with Verizon Wireless since its inception in 2000, working as the company's executive vice president and COO before attaining the top spot in 2007. Prior to that he was president and CEO of PrimeCo Personal Communications.

Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture between the parent company and Vodafone, is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., thanks in large part to its acquisition under McAdams's watch of Alltel Corp. in 2009. Verizon Wireless has seen its subscriber base explode to 91 million from 61 million just four years ago.

Shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) were up 4 cents, or 0.13 percent, to $31.72 around noon Monday.

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