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Verizon Shakes Up Wireline Businesses

Verizon Communications will consolidate its two wireline business groups -- Verizon Telecom and Verizon Business -- into one organization, and has eliminated its centralized marketing position and will not replace retiring chief operating officer Dennis Strigl, the company announced Monday.

According to Verizon, creating a single wireline business group will accelerate "operational performance" and move marketing functions closer to customer-facing operations. The wireline and wireless organizations will continue to be supported by the Verizon Services Operations shared-resources group.

Fran Shammo, who was president of Verizon Business, has been named president of Verizon's realigned wireline operations, reporting to chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg. The changes come on the heels of the announcement last month that Strigl, Verizon's president and COO, intends to retire at the end of 2009.

In August, Verizon announced it would cut 8,000 jobs in the second half of the year, or 3.4% of its work force, as the telco's traditional landline business continues to erode.

"Our focus is on simplifying our organization with the objective of increasing speed to market, accelerating our growth trajectory and quickly reducing our costs in the process," Seidenberg said in a statement. "This is a natural evolution of our business."

Under the reorganization, Daniel Mead, who was president of Verizon Telecom, becomes chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless. He replaces Jack Plating, who announced his retirement on Oct. 2. Mead will report to Lowell McAdam, who will continue as president and CEO of Verizon Wireless.

In addition, John Stratton, who was chief marketing officer for Verizon, is now chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, also reporting to McAdam. Verizon has eliminated the chief marketing officer position, and the centralized marketing functions will be integrated into the business groups.

Executives continuing in their current roles but now reporting to Seidenberg are: Virginia Services Operations president Virginia Ruesterholz; chief technology officer Richard Lynch; and chief information officer Shaygan Kheradpir.