BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine Names Verizon One of the Best Companies for Diversity

NEW YORK - BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine has named Verizon to its inaugural list of the 30 Best Companies for Diversity. The publication cited Verizon for its inclusion of African-Americans and other ethnic minorities among senior management, the company's board of directors and suppliers. Complete survey results appear in the magazine's July issue.

BLACK ENTERPRISE said it compiled its list by surveying 1,000 businesses, evaluating each on its diversity programs, and consulting with recognized experts. According to the magazine, the 30 companies that were selected have made significant progress toward inclusion at all levels of their business.

"Verizon and the other companies that are named to our list stand out because they recognize the positive impact having an inclusive work force has on the bottom line," said Alfred Edmond, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine editor in chief. "Businesses that understand and respect the diversity of their customers are more successful at growing revenues, profits and market share. It's a simple fact."

Verizon's focus on diversity begins at the top levels of the company, with senior executives emphasizing that diversity is an integral part of the business. Verizon measures diversity progress like any other business objective, holding executives accountable through compensation measures.

Minority employees make up more than 30 percent of Verizon's work force, run key segments of the business and oversee many of the company's technology initiatives. African-Americans account for more than 18 percent of the work force and hold nearly 8.5 percent of senior management positions.

In addition, minorities and African-Americans make up 27 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of Verizon's 11-member board of directors.

Verizon also belongs to a select group of corporations that consistently spend more than $1 billion annually with women- and minority-owned businesses. In 2004, the company spent $1.78 billion with diverse suppliers, including purchasing more than $248 million in goods and services from African-American businesses. The company forms strategic alliances with advocacy groups and chambers of commerce to support small businesses, and encourages primary suppliers to increase use of diverse businesses as subcontractors. Additionally, through the Verizon Diversity Managers program, 20 minority-owned investment firms manage more than $1 billion in committed Verizon pension assets.

Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.