Verizon builds its own mini-Ericsson by making Rima Qureshi Chief Strategy Officer

Further evidence that operators are increasingly looking to go it alone on networking tech as Rima Qureshi joins her old Ericsson boss at Verizon.

Qureshi threw in the towel at Ericsson back in May of this year and apparently negotiated four months of gardening leave, down from the presumed six, presumably because Verizon is not a direct competitor to Ericsson. That status may change, however, if Verizon keep stockpiling former networking execs.

At the same time former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg was escorted from the building at Ericsson last year, Qureshi was demoted from her Chief Strategy Officer role and put in charge of North America, which included giving CPR to the struggling Cisco partnership. Vestberg, of course, ended up at Verizon in March of this year and seems to have wasted little time in asking Qureshi how she felt about her demotion.

Not great, it seems, and Qureshi clearly missed the strategy game as she has accepted the CSO gig at Verizon too, replacing the excellently-named Roy Chestnutt. She won’t be reporting to Vestberg this time, though, as her remit seems to cover the whole company, not just networking, and she’ll be reporting direction to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

“We thank Roy for his leadership and strategic focus, which have helped transform Verizon into a major player in next-generation markets,” said McAdam. “The addition of Rima is another game-changer for Verizon. She’s a visionary leader, with a global perspective and a thorough understanding of our industry and where it’s headed.”

Qureshi didn’t offer a canned comment but we can safely assume she’s pleased, excited, pumped, etc. Verizon is clearly tooling-up to be increasingly self-reliant in the 5G era. AT&T is already very proactive in this area and there is a global trend of operators being increasingly disinclined to wait for vendors to solve their technological problems. That’s something the likes of Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia should be very concerned about.

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