Name: Ivan Seidenberg
Title: Verizon CEO

 

Why him? Something surprising happened as ’07 neared its conclusion. After years of poking fun at the telcos’ video plans, cable operators’ tone surrounding FiOS seemed to change. Dare we say, they started sounding like they respected, and possibly even feared, this competitive offering? “The telecom companies have had their fits and starts, but Verizon is real. Verizon is taking video customers from us,” Comcast COO Steve Burke said at a Goldman Sachs conference this year. Seidenberg and his team amassed more than 700K FiOS video subs at the end of the third quarter for a penetration rate of more than 15%. And while cable stocks were plagued by negative investor sentiment, Wall Street seemed enamored with the telcos. Cablevision predicted that FiOS would pass 1.6mln homes in its footprint by the end of ’11 and capture 10% of video penetration. There’s been little squabbling over video franchises this year. Instead, Verizon has just been steadily rolling out its product. The next big test will be whether Seidenberg & Co can meet its goal of turning a profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization next year.  AM

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