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AT&T Mobility gets new CEO, de la Vega becomes Mobile & Business Solutions group head

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AT&T has assigned a new CEO to head its mobility business as part of a larger move to merge the wireless company's mobility and business divisions.

Former AT&T president of emerging devices Glenn Lurie is now AT&T Mobility CEO and will continue to report to former mobility chief Ralph de la Vega, who is now appointed as head of the combined Mobile & Business Solutions group. Lurie, a long-time wireless industry veteran who is most notable for negotiating a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone exclusively in 2007 until Verizon began offering the phone in 2011, is also responsible for launching AT&T's smart home product Digital Life.

De La Vega, on the other hand, came to AT&T with the mobile carrier's acquisition of Cingular Wireless in 2007. He will oversee both mobility and business operations and will report to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, while former business unit CEO Andrew Geisse is retiring after 35 years of working with AT&T.

The new appointments were first reported by Fierce Wireless and later confirmed by AT&T, saying that integrating the marketing and distribution for AT&T's mobility and business divisions is the "natural next step" after succeeding in consolidating the company's wired and wireless operations. This provides AT&T an advantage in selling mobile services to its growing base of enterprise consumers, which currently comprise half of AT&T's total revenue.

"Integrating Business Solutions into Mobility is a great fit, because mobility is how businesses do business," writes Brad Burns, AT&T spokesperson, in a statement. "In fact, business-related customers represent more than 50% of our mobile revenues and it's growing. This new group will focus on delivering integrated solutions for business customers that are first and foremost mobile, and also secure, reliable, ultra-fast and effortless."  

The consolidation of the two divisions follows in the footsteps of Verizon's earlier move to merge its landline and mobile divisions after it bought back Vodafone Group's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless earlier this year.

AT&T competitor Sprint and third biggest mobile carrier in the United States has also recently gone through a restructuring in its topmost executive levels with former CEO Dan Hesse being replaced by Brightstar founder Marcelo Claure. Claure has already initiated multiple steps to implement Sprint's new competitive pricing strategy and vows to introduce further actions to change Sprint's fortune after losing more than 240,000 customers in the last quarter.

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