Niklas Heuveldop won the up-to-$15bn deal with AT&T so becomes the chosen one to sort out Ericsson’s platform business including Vonage
Ericsson has announced a significant executive reshuffle that will see current North American head Niklas Heuveldop to become the new head of the vendor’s global communications platform unit and CEO of Vonage. In December, AT&T has signed a deal with Ericsson for open RAN deployment across the US over the next five years that is worth up to $15 billion.
However, Heuveldop will have his work cut out convincing the world that application programming interfaces (APIs) can be profitable if 5G apps could be exposed to developers on the platform. Last October, Ericsson announced it would absorb a $2.94 billion non-cash charge in the third quarter to reflect Vonage’s falling value, despite paying €6.2 billion for the cloud-based communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) firm in November 2021.
Heuveldop replaces Rory Read, who will leave Ericsson at the end of the first quarter of 2024. Read had been CEO of Vonage since 2020.
“Niklas has proven himself in multiple roles on the executive team. Under his leadership we have significantly strengthened our position in North America, expanding our market share with all leading customers in the region and the industry-defining $14 billion deal with AT&T, creates a solid foundation for our business in the market for years to come,” said Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm. “He is also an important driver of our ongoing organizational transformation, driving ethics, compliance and operational excellence.”
He added: “The Vonage acquisition and our investments in the global network platform are foundational to our long-term strategy execution, driving growth in both the enterprise segment, but also reinforcing our network infrastructure business.”
Thrilled but humbled
Heuveldop said he was “thrilled but also humbled to be offered the opportunity to ensure that we leverage Vonage’s capabilities and the 5G innovation platform to their full potential – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I move on knowing that we have the best talent in the industry to serve our customers and Yossi will continue to strengthen our local capabilities.”
In a separate move, the current head of strategy, technology, marketing and business development in the US, Yossi Cohen, will replace Heuveldop to lead North America. Cohen will also be a member of Ericsson’s executive team and report to the CEO. A 22-year Ericsson veteran, his previous roles include head of customer unit Verizon, global head of radio sales and business management in Stockholm and head of global customer unit Softbank in Tokyo.
“Yossi’s deep understanding of technology and business strategy is crucial as we lead in the 5G landscape,” said Ekholm. “His expertise in fostering dynamic customer relationships and a progressive approach to technology will be key in shaping our future operations and maintaining our industry leadership. He has played an important role within our North American operations for the last seven years and I’m happy that he has accepted to take on this new role.”