Marni Walden announces plans to leave Verizon

James Pearce
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President of global media Walden, once touted as a potential successor to CEO Lowell McAdam, will depart Verizon in February 2018

Marni Walden VerizonVerizon’s president of global media, and arguably the most powerful woman in the US operator, has announced plans to leave the company in February 2018.

Marni Walden, who has served as EVP and president of global media at Verizon since 2015, will move into a strategic advisory role in December, before leaving the US telco completely in February, Verizon said.

Walden was previously executive vice president and president - product and new business innovation – helping to take the company’s new media revenue from zero to $7 billion in annual sales.

She was a key player in the recent acquisition of Yahoo, having negotiated a $350 million discount on the purchase price when revelations about cyber breaches at the internet giant emerged last year. She then began the process of integrating Yahoo with AOL in a new business unit called Oath.

Her responsibilities, which included overseeing both the media arm of Verizon and its telematics unit, will be split between Oath CEO Tim Armstrong and John Stratton, who will take on the telematics unit as part of his role as EVP and president of global operations.

"Marni helped build our wireless business, starting as a sales representative in a store, and grew into an inspirational leader and role model for so many at Verizon," said McAdam. "She has most recently spearheaded Verizon's entry into global digital media and telematics and will leave us in a strong competitive position."

No reason was given for Walden’s departure, but Bloomberg reports that it could be linked to future opportunities at the company. Walden was once touted as a potential future successor to Lowell McAdam as CEO, but, according to a Bloomberg source, she has been told this is unlikely, prompting her departure.

Stratton, along with former Ericsson chief Hans Vestberg who joined Verizon as network and technology chief earlier this year, are both front runners to succeed McAdam, according to Bloomberg’s report.