VZW CEO comes to Little Rock, talks jobs

McAdamVerizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam introduced himself to a crowd of Alltel employees in Little Rock, Ark., today, hoping to address concerns about Verizon’s pending acquisition of the long-time Arkansas firm.

Speaking to what may have been the issue on everyone’s mind, employment, McAdam told the crowd that Alltel’s headquarters will become a regional hub for Verizon Wireless. And while he wouldn’t estimate how many employees it might ultimately sustain, McAdam said regional offices typically employ about 100 people in various roles, including marketing, sales and finance.
McAdam also said he not only planned to retain Alltel’s Little Rock call center but hoped to grow it to over 1,000 employees.
On the way out of the hall, Alltel employees started doing the math in their heads. One thousand call center employees and 100 regional office employees comes to about 1100 employees, a big drop from the 3000 or so employed at Alltel’s Little Rock headquarters today.
As for when those changes might take place, McAdam said he was hoping to get the merger approved by the US Justice Department by early November (competitor Leap Wireless has asked the FCC to block the deal) and to make an operational changes over the 9 to 12 months following the merger’s closing.
McAdam said he’s known Alltel’s CEO, Scott Ford, for 15 years, and Verizon has been wanting to acquire Alltel for nearly that long. McAdam was the former CEO of PrimeCo, one of the 10 companies (along with Bell Atlantic, NyNex) that merged to form Verizon Wireless in 1999. “We’d love to have had Alltel be part of that initial merger, but we couldn’t figure out how to make that happen,” he said. “That’s how long we’ve had our eye on Alltel.”

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