FierceTelecom Leaders - Fran Shammo, President of Verizon Business

Verizon Business, while seeing enterprise customers push orders out and decreased volume, continues to win opportunities where it can save businesses money. During the second quarter, Verizon Business generated $1.5 billion in revenue from strategic services. Verizon Business' total global enterprise revenue, which includes strategic services and legacy services, was $3.7 billion and Global Wholesale revenue was $2.4 billion ($6.1 billion total retail and wholesale). Ongoing sales in strategic business services, including IP managed services, Ethernet, security services and professional services, boosted the revenue figure. Fierce Telecom recently sat down with Fran Shammo, who took over as President in February when John Killian became Verizon's Chief Financial Officer, about his goals for the company for the rest of 2009 and into 2010.

Fierce Telecom: Fran, you were appointed as president of Verizon Business in February, taking over from fellow Verizon veteran John Killian, who is now Verizon's CFO. Tell us about your first five months on the job? Any surprises in the transition?

Shammo: Obviously, I worked for John as his CFO for the past four years, so from a transition standpoint it was really pretty easy. I don't think there were any real surprises because I knew what they were. Working for John for four years, we both developed a strategy, and I am carrying on with what we developed from the time that we merged with MCI.

I can say the biggest disappointment right now is the way that the industry outside the U.S. views Verizon Business. What I would say from that perspective is they view us as a network company, but we're a lot more than that. I think what you'll see us do is more  branding in certain areas. We kicked off a campaign in Europe recently to tell our story a little bit better so people will understand that we're more than just a network company.

Fierce Telecom: So the initial goal for the rest of the year and going into 2010 is to up your brand presence in the international markets?

Shammo: There are probably two main goals this year. One is to change the perception, get us well known and do it in the markets where we want to play, which is the multinational market. We want to attack the CIOs and get them thinking about Verizon Business when they go to bid something. Normally what we hear from our customers is that we never thought to bid that to Verizon. When they walk through the airport, the CIO can say, ‘oh, Verizon does that so maybe I will have to include them on the next bid.' Then, the other thing is continuing with the strategy of developing the verticals and transforming Verizon Business from a network-centric company to more of a solutions/vertical expertise company. That does not mean we are losing our focus on the network. Obviously, the network is the crown jewel that sets me apart from other competitors such as the SIs who don't own or operate a network. We're transforming the two goals together with more focus on the verticals and solutions-based selling.

Click here for Part 2 of the interview

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