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AT&T Promotes De La Vega to Unit Head, Lure to Mobile CEO

AT&T Inc. named Ralph de la Vega, the head of its wireless unit for the past six years, to oversee a new division that combines wireless and business services.

De la Vega’s new group puts mobile services together with the landline operations AT&T runs for business clients, Brad Burns, an AT&T spokesman, said in an e-mail yesterday. Glenn Lurie will become the new CEO of mobile services, reporting to de la Vega.

AT&T is revamping its operations to work more closely with business clients, who make up more than half of its mobile revenue. The consolidation of business services with wireless underscores the growing importance of mobile across all of AT&T’s operations and helps the company more easily sell packages of data, landline phone and wireless to corporate customers.

The move echoes Verizon Communications Inc.’s effort to combine its mobile and landline businesses after taking full control of U.S. wireless operations with the $130 billion acquisition this year of Vodafone Group Plc’s 45 percent stake in the joint venture.

When asked if any job cuts were planned as part of the consolidation of units, Burns said AT&T is continuously looking for ways to streamline operations.

Andy Geisse, CEO of the old business solutions unit, is retiring after 35 years with the company, Burns said.

De la Vega came to AT&T with the Cingular Wireless merger and took over leadership of the wireless business in 2007. He helped navigate AT&T through the wireless network challenges that became evident with the sudden popularity of Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Lurie is credited with working closely with Apple executives on the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. AT&T held an exclusive sales agreement for the iPhone until 2011, when Verizon started selling the device.

Fierce Wireless reported the executive changes earlier yesterday.

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