Verizon’s Dan Mead to retire; John Stratton is new wireless chief

Verizon made a surprise annoucement in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday. Dan Mead, Verizon Communications EVP and CEO of Verizon Wireless, is retiring and Verizon’s EVP in charge of global enterprise and consumer wireline operations John Stratton, has taken over the day-to-day operation of Verizon’s core mobile business in addition to his wireline duties.

Mead, who became [company]Verizon[/company]’s wireless chief in 2010 and is now age 61, isn’t leaving the company before finishing a final housekeeping, item though. In the filing, which was first spotted by Wireless Week, Verizon said Mead has been appointed EVP and President of Strategic Initiatives. His sole responsibility will be overseeing the transfer of Verizon’s wireline networks in California, Florida and Texas to [company]Frontier Communications[/company], a deal announced earlier this month, after which he is expected to retire.

As for Stratton, he isn’t assuming Mead’s full title of President and CEO of Verizon Wireless. Instead he was named EVP and President of Operations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean his role will be diminished. Verizon Wireless has always had a weird organizational structure because for most of its life it had two corporate parents: Verizon Communications and [company]Vodafone[/company]. Consequently Verizon and Verizon Wireless always had two different CEOs, CTOs and pretty much every other C-level position.

That changed when Verizon bought out Vodafone’s stake last year for $130 billion. It looks like Verizon is now taking this opportunity to normalize its executive titles, but as Mead did before him, Stratton will report directly to Verizon’s biggest cheese: Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam.

And in case you’re keeping count, Mead’s retirement means the number of nationwide carrier chiefs with mustaches is now down from two to a mere one. [company]AT&T[/company] Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega, wear your stache proudly!