Verizon CCO Thonis to retire next month

NEW YORK: Peter Thonis, who was appointed Verizon's first CCO in 2004, will step down from his position next month.

NEW YORK: Peter Thonis, who was appointed Verizon's first CCO in 2004, will step down from his position next month.

The telecommunications giant will name his replacement at a later date, it said in an internal memo seen by PRWeek.

Verizon corporate communications executive director Bob Varettoni confirmed Thonis will leave the company in early July.

“I've accomplished what I wanted to accomplish here. I had a lot of success helping to put Verizon on the map, helping to build and protect the brand. We're in a good place,” Thonis said. “In a job like mine, you also want to make sure you're leaving at a point in time when you can do other stuff you want to do and also give opportunities to other people.”

Thonis added that Verizon is “on the case” in appointing his successor but could not announce anything yet.

Thonis has been responsible for external communications, media relations, issues management, executive communications, and corporate employee communications at the company.

Previously, he served as SVP of external communications at Verizon from 2000 to 2005 after the company was formed from the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. Thonis has also worked as VP of external communications at GTE and had a 14-year career at IBM with several senior communications management positions.

Thonis said he planned to take some time off before deciding on the next step in his career.

“I'm pretty open to ideas,” he said.

Thonis is also vice chairman and a member of the executive committee of the NYC Outward Bound board and is an adjunct professor of communications at New York University.

The announcement of Thonis' departure comes the same week that The Guardian reported that Verizon was ordered to hand over metadata of millions of calls to the National Security Agency. While Verizon had not officially commented on the issue in media reports by Thursday afternoon, the company's general counsel said in a memo to employees that it protects customer privacy, but must give information to authorities when compelled by a federal court.

This story was updated on June 6 with quotes from Thonis.

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