Bell Atlantic Accelerates Succession
Ivan Seidenberg to Become CEO June 1
May 1, 1998
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic (NYSE:BEL) announced today that its Board of
Directors has accelerated the succession of Vice Chairman, President and
COO Ivan Seidenberg to the CEO
The Board acted on the recommendation of Chairman and CEO
Raymond W. Smith. Smith will remain
the Bell Atlantic Board until his retirement later in the year.
"The new Bell Atlantic is off to a fast start," Smith said. "Integrating two companies of this size is enormously complex and demanding, and yet our transition has been remarkably smooth and is proceeding more rapidly than even we expected. Bell Atla
ntic continues to gather momentum and is ready to enter its next growth phase in data, long distance and global communications services. The Board has agreed with my recommendation that this critical juncture for our company is the most appropriate time
to ask Ivan to lead the way."
Seidenberg said, "Over the past decade, Ray Smith has been the author of Bell Atlantic's great success story. He has been a terrific partner during our merger transition, but that was no surprise. We have shared a common view of the enormous potentia
l stored in Bell Atlantic since we shook hands on the deal two years ago. His leadership, insight, and dynamic personality have been indispensable. I look forward to his continuing guidance on the Board and to his friendship for years to come."
Seidenberg will assume executive leadership -- with the title of vice chairman, president and CEO -- on June 1. This advances the timetable established by the Bell Atlantic-NYNEX merger agreement, which provided for Seidenberg to succeed Smith as CEO
on Aug. 14, 1998, the first anniversary of the merger's close.
Since becoming CEO in January 1989, Smith has led Bell Atlantic to the forefront of the new communications and information industry. "I'm proud to have led a team that has been able to re-fashion Bell Atlantic from its roots as a local telephone compa
ny into one of the top telecommunications firms worldwide," Smith said. "It has been most important to me that we have been able to sustain growth and innovation before, during and after our merger. Our strategic repositioning efforts have been a great
success, and I've never been more confident about Bell Atlantic's potential."
Seidenberg added, "To deliver on our merger's long-term promise, we have developed the industry's best and deepest management team. This is an extraordinary enterprise, and it is being led by an extraordinary group of people. So I am pleased that the
Board has acted on my recommendations for management retention."
Seidenberg announced that the Board has approved retention agreements for the company's next six senior officers, ensuring continuity of leadership. The officers are Lawrence T. Babbio, president and CEO, Network Group, and chairman, Global Wireless G
roup; James G. Cullen, president and CEO, Telecom Group; Donald J. Sacco, executive vice president, Human Resources; Frederic V. Salerno, senior executive vice president and CFO/Strategy and Business Development; Morrison DeS. Webb, executive vice preside
nt, External Affairs and Corporate Communications, and James R. Young, executive vice president and general counsel.
With more than 41 million telephone access lines and 6.7 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wirel
ess services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 22 countries.