William F. Heitmann, senior vice president of finance at Verizon Communications Inc., Basking Ridge, N.J., and president of Verizon Investment Management, will leave the company on Dec. 31.
Ron Lataille, senior vice president of investor relations at Verizon, will succeed Mr. Heitmann. John Doherty, CFO of Verizon Services Operations — which provides financial, human resource and other services to Verizon Communications' business units — will succeed Mr. Lataille. Their appointments are effective Sept. 2.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Heitmann spoke highly of his 39 years at Verizon, but asked about his future plans said, “I certainly don't plan to open a lemonade stand in the Florida Keys.”
“I absolutely plan on staying involved in the industry,” he said. “I probably will not go to another sponsor, but (more likely will) be more on the investment manager side. Over the remainder of this year, I'll be having discussions about where and with whom I would like to continue my activities.”
Mr. Heitmann added that he's not taking any career options off the table.
He said his time at Verizon has been a “rich and rewarding experience,” noting that he joined the company in the days of the Bell System, helping guide the pension plan through numerous recessions.
“Whether it was the Russian crisis or the emerging markets crisis, there has been a lot of volatility over the years in pension land,” he said.
The experience has given him perspective on “not overreacting to volatility when you see it,” he said.
“(Volatility) certainly is increasing; there's no question about it. The combination of regulatory changes and market changes has increased the challenges over the years, but it's still an exciting place to work.”
Verizon Investment Management oversees $28 billion in defined benefit pension plans, $19 billion in two defined contribution plans and $8 billion in two VEBAs, corporate foundation and captive insurance, confirmed Verizon spokesman Peter Thonis.
“As a colleague, mentor and adviser, Bill has displayed great leadership throughout a long and distinguished career in finance at Verizon,” CFO John Killian said in a company news release. “I owe Bill a personal debt of gratitude for how he has helped me and the company in a wide range of executive roles. We will miss his wisdom and guidance, and we wish him well in his next endeavor.”
Mr. Heitmann was promoted to president of Verizon Investment Management in December 2004, succeeding T. Britton Harris IV, who left who left to become CEO of Bridgewater Associates. Mr. Harris, in 2006, became chief investment officer of the now $96 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Austin.
Mr. Heitmann had been treasurer of Verizon Communications prior to his promotion to president of Verizon Investment Management. When he took over at Verizon Investment Management, it oversaw $60 billion in assets, including $40 billion in combined pension assets. n