Verizon's CEO makes the call
By Stephanie N. Mehta

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Over nearly a decade of dealmaking, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has established himself as the consummate power sharer. As CEO of the old Nynex he merged his company with Bell Atlantic in 1997 but did a stint as No. 2 to Bell Atlantic's CEO Ray Smith. When Bell Atlantic acquired GTE in 2000 to create Verizon, Seidenberg accepted a co-CEO post with GTE chief Chuck Lee for a couple of years. No more. In unveiling Verizon's $6.75 billion acquisition of MCI in February, Seidenberg made it clear he won't be ceding any power to MCI chief Michael Capellas. (This apparently is fine by Capellas, who is eager to move on to his next challenge, according to associates.) Now in the catbird seat--assuming Qwest doesn't swoop in with an offer MCI's board can't refuse--Seidenberg will undoubtedly start looking for ways to cut costs at MCI. Already there's talk of improving the billing systems, ditching real estate, and axing staff. Of course, Verizon may not be spared entirely. The company has been shedding local phone lines, and should that continue, it would be left with a collection of fast-growing businesses such as broadband, wireless, and corporate data services--and just a smattering of traditional phone lines. There's no guarantee such a scenario would play out--but there is a guarantee about who will make the call. -- Stephanie N. Mehta