Ivan Seidenberg took time out of his busy schedule to deliver a guest speech entitled “Inventing Verizon: Innovation & Growth in a Transforming Communications Industry” as the third lecture of Dean Amar Gupta’s Massive Online Open Class (MOOC) entitled “International Technology Services in the Knowledge Economy”
Mr. Seidenberg spoke about his time at Verizon as CEO and chairman and how he was able to lead the company through extraordinary transformations. The communications industry has experienced incredible disruptions due to technological and social changes and Mr. Seidenberg oversaw the Verizon Corporation at this time as it transitioned itself into an innovative leader in broadband and mobile communications. He talked about how when he started out the black telephone was the center of everyone’s universe and Verizon acted as a local municipal monopoly. But as times changed and wireless phones became the norm, including smart phones that could transmit data, the company had to re-envision itself as an internet and service provider that could compete at the national level.
His work at the company is a powerful example of how to lead a company in turbulent times, and how to take advantage of changing trends to move ahead.
Seidenberg started his career as a cable splicer’s assistant at New York Telephone right after high school and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lehman College in 1972 followed by an MBA degree from Pace University in 1981. Through hard work Seidenberg eventually rose up to become head of NYNEX in 1994. When Bell Atlantic merged with NYNEX he took a senior position with the company, and when Bell Atlantic became Verizon he was the sole CEO of the company.
In 2006, Seidenberg donated $15 million to Pace University. Pace’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems was officially renamed the Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in his honor.
Seidenberg is a member of the President’s Export Council, which advises the President on how to promote U.S. exports, jobs and growth, and the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, which provides counsel on communications issues related to national security. From 2009 to 2011, he chaired the Business Roundtable, an influential association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies.
Seidenberg is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences’ President’s Council and serves on the board of trustees of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, The New York Hall of Science, Pace University, the Paley Center for Media, and on the Board of Directors of BlackRock Inc.