Vonage CEO to Step Down on Thursday, Longstanding Ericsson Exec to Steady the Ship

Niklas Heuveldop, President & CEO of Ericsson North America, will take the reigns at Vonage

Vonage CEO to Step Down on Thursday, Longstanding Ericsson Exec to Steady the Ship
Contact CentreLatest News

Published: January 30, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Vonage CEO Rory Read will vacate his position on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

Read has held the position since July 2020 after taking over from Alan Masarek, the current Avaya CEO.

Most notably, he oversaw the CCaaS, UCaaS, and CPaaS company’s sale to Ericsson in 2021 for an eye-watering $6.2BN.

Yet, since then, Vonage’s fortunes have taken a turn, with year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth rising just two percent last quarter.

According to Francois Bouvignies, Director of Equity Research at USB, that is “well below” what Ericsson had originally expected.

In addition, Vonage suffered several high-profile setbacks in H2 of 2023.

In November, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced $100MN in refunds to Vonage consumers, denouncing the vendor for making it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscriptions.

The enterprise communications also landed in hot water with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for breaching SMS anti-scam regulations.

Such setbacks preceded reports suggesting Ericsson has taken a $2.92BN hit on the acquisition.

Yet, a tricky macro-environment – which has also troubled many competitors – is likely the primary thorn in Vonage’s side.

Moreover, Ericsson maintains that the move is a long-term play, and incoming CEO Niklas Heuveldop doubled down on this. He stated:

I am 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.

Bringing Vonage up to its full potential means differentiating its portfolio through mobility. Ericsson can do this through its deep wireless operator relationships and new 5G network API platform.

Indeed, Ericsson can effectively manage the entire network experience and harness these APIs to deliver new speed, latency, and quality on-demand across Vonage’s CCaaS and UCaaS solutions.

Meanwhile, those APIs will offer Vonage a differentiator in CPaaS, as companies insert high-performing audio and video into their smartphone apps and improve end-user experiences.

Read proved a big believer in this go-forward strategy and how it will open up Vonage to a new audience. Despite his exit, that has not changed.

“There is no question Ericsson is shaping the industry landscape by leveraging the full value of 5G and by creating the world’s most powerful innovation platform,” he said.

Through this platform, Ericsson will be able to monetize 5G in completely new ways by exposing advanced network capabilities to the global developer community.

“The Company has come a long way towards realizing this strategy, and I look forward to following Ericsson and handing over the reins to Niklas’ capable hands.”

For his part, Heuveldop has spent over 18 years at Ericsson, most recently as President & CEO of Ericsson North America.

In itself, the appointment suggests Vonage will lean further into network and mobility as a differentiator. After all, the CEO isn’t someone with deep experience in enterprise communications.

As a result, expect Vonage to leverage its network capabilities to experiment with new enterprise communications use cases and deliver vertical-specific solutions.

Such moves could move industry innovation – which currently seems to hinge on generative AI advancements – in new, exciting directions.




Brands mentioned in this article.


Share This Post