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Verizon Finance Head Killian to Retire After 31 Years

Verizon Communications Inc. said Chief Financial Officer John F. Killian plans to retire around the end of the year, after 31 years with the second-largest U.S. phone company.

A successor will be named shortly, and Killian, who has been finance chief since March 2009, will work on the transition with Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg, the New York-based company said in a statement today. Prior to the finance role, Killian led the Verizon division that provides services to large-business and government customers.

“My wife and my family are located up in Boston, and every week I’ve been going back and forth, and I’ve made a personal decision,” Killian, 55, said in an interview. “I think this company is very well positioned. I have great respect for the management team.”

Killian said he won’t pursue full-time employment, and will spend time on boards or in an advisory capacity to other companies.

The CFO is leaving as Verizon is seeing a shrinking base of home-phone customers and the rising prominence of the wireless business run by Lowell McAdam. Killian had been considered a possible successor to Seidenberg, said John Hodulik, an analyst in New York for UBS AG.

“He was one of the candidates for being the new CEO when Ivan Seidenberg retires,” said Hodulik, who rates the shares “neutral” and doesn’t own any. “Killian was a well-respected guy.”

The board will meet to decide on his successor, said Peter Thonis, a spokesman for Verizon, who declined to say when the meeting will take place. The company tends to promote from within its ranks, he said. Killian had replaced Doreen Toben, who joined the company in 2000 and served as finance chief for almost nine years after the merger that created Verizon.

The company’s shares rose 8 cents to $30.90 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading. The stock is little changed this year.

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