Daniel Mead, who has served as president and CEO of Verizon Wireless since 2010, is retiring. The carrier has appointed John Stratton to fill the leadership role; Stratton will now oversee both Verizon's wireline and wireless businesses. Mead will remain with the company until Verizon finalizes the sale of landline assets to Frontier Communications — a transaction that's expected to wrap up in the first half of 2016. After that, he plans to retire in full. The change was announced in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mead, 61, has been at the helm of Verizon during a multi-year period where the company never ceded its position atop the US mobile industry. He's also largely kept out of the spotlight in that time; Mead's most memorable appearance came when he shared the stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2011, the year the iPhone finally broke out of its AT&T exclusivity and came to Verizon Wireless. Last year, Mead dumped cold water on Comcast's Time Warner Cable merger, describing the ISP's stance that 4G LTE data is a viable competitor to cable internet "a little bit of a stretch." But Mead also led Verizon through unpopular decisions like doing away with unlimited data plans and shifting focus to tiered data buckets and shared family plans.
Mead's quiet leadership has flown in stark contrast to T-Mobile's John Legere, who became that company's public face and biggest cheerleader after stepping into the top role in 2012. AT&T Mobility experienced its own leadership change last year when Glenn Laurie took the CEO spot after Ralph de la Vega moved to a new role. And Sprint shuffled its senior ranks after years of disappointing performance beneath AT&T and Verizon, inserting Marcelo Claure as its chief executive last August.