5G Factor Video Research Note: Lumen’s New CEO Brings Some Serious DX Chops — Much Needed as the Company Transitions from a Telco to a Tech Co

The News: Lumen Technologies announced a CEO transition this week, appointing Kate Johnson, President and CEO, succeeding Jeff Storey who has announced his retirement after an impressive 40-year career. Read the full Press Release from Lumen.

Lumen’s New CEO Brings Some Serious DX Chops — Much Needed as the Company Transitions from a Telco to a Tech Co

Analyst Take: Things are happening in the telecom industry, and organizations are undergoing a big shift, transitioning from telcos to technology companies and hoping to monetize digital transformation and 5G opportunities along the way. And that’s why Lumen Technologies announcement of the hiring of Kate Johnson as CEO, taking over from Jeff Storey in mid-November of this year is big news. Storey is retiring after a 40-year career, serving as Lumen CEO for the last nine years and will stay on through year’s end to ensure a smooth transition.

This is exciting news. Kate Johnson, without question, brings some serious digital transformation chops. Johnson comes from Microsoft most recently, where she served as President of Microsoft US from 2017-2021, charged with growth of solutions, services, and support revenue and leading a team of about 10,000. Prior to that Johnson did a stint at GE, focusing on software and services solutions. She also worked for Red Hat as global VP of strategic accounts and at Oracle, where she was SVP of its North American Technology and Government Consulting Business.

Bottom line, and especially in the last decade, Johnson’s focus has been on growth, which is exactly what Lumen needs in this next phase of growth and transition for the company.

Lumen isn’t the only telco working to transition to a tech company and laying the right foundation there is going to play a big role in the success of telcos moving into the 5G era and being positioned to deliver both the services and the tech solutions customers need moving forward.

Watch a vignette our coverage of this hire on our most recent episode of The 5G Factor, our webcast series focusing on all things 5G. Find the video here:

And the full episode here:

Or stream the audio here:

If you’ve not yet subscribed to The 5G Factor, hit the ‘subscribe’ button while you’re there and you won’t miss an episode.


Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.


Shelly Kramer: With that, we’re going to dive right into our show today. We’ve got some interesting tidbits of news and information, and I’m going to kick it off talking about Lumen’s new CEO, who I think brings some serious chops and those chops are much needed as we are seeing an industry of telcos trying to transition to techcos. So what’s the news. So Lumen technologies is announced the hiring of Kate Johnson as CEO and she’ll be taking over from Jeff Story in mid-November of this year. Jeff has had an incredibly long career, a 40 year career, and he’s been serving as the Lumen CEO for the last nine years. So why do I say that Kate Johnson brings serious chops? Well, let’s step back and look a little bit at her background. She comes from Microsoft most recently, where she served as the president of Microsoft US from 2017 to 2021.

There she was charged with the growth of solutions services and support revenue and she led a team of about 10,000. Prior to that, she did a stent at GE, focusing on software and service solutions. She also worked as a global VP of strategic accounts for Red Hat, and she was Oracle’s senior vice president of its north American technology and government consulting business. So all in, and especially in the last decade, Kate Johnson’s focus has been on growth and that’s exactly what Lumen needs in this next phase of growth and transition for the company. As I said at the beginning of this segment, Lumen isn’t the only telco who’s working to transition to being a technology company and Lang the right foundation there. I believe it’s going to play a really big role in the success of telcos moving forward into the 5G era and being positioned to deliver the services and the technology solutions that customers need in order to really maximize 5G. So I saw this as a really smart move and I’m looking forward to seeing Kate take the helm at Lumen and see what happens.

Ron Westfall: Yes, the timing is excellent. I couldn’t agree with you more, Shelly. I think the background is remarkable. Certainly the most recent stint at Microsoft US does bode well in terms of the fact that she’s very expert at software and services, and clearly that’s a direction Lumen needs to go in, particularly since it’s portraying itself as an enterprise platform dedicated to driving digital transformation across industrial revolution for type of scenarios and verticals. I think it’s also important to note that while she was at Microsoft, she was also in charge of $45 billion in PnL. So that I think will definitely lend itself to steering Lumen to I think what is also needed a brand that will be more well received across the enterprise space.

Certainly I think when it comes to embracing more cloud native technologies, being able to position the company as a digital transformation Vanguard type company, that will be critical. So there’s some work to be cut out here. For example, that branding has also to connect emotionally. It can’t simply be, okay, where another techno that can also support cloud technologies. It’s about, okay, how are we unique? How are we different? How are we actually making a difference in not only the organization, but also in the lives of the people who work, particularly in the work from home type of settings and in terms of just making the work experience all the more attractive for people who are working at Lumen?

Shelly Kramer: Right. Well, it’ll be very interesting to watch Kate Johnson at work and see what she’s able to accomplish. I, for one, am rooting for her.

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


Latest Insights:

On this episode of The Six Five – On The Road, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Intel’s Greg Lavender and Sandra Rivera for a conversation on Intel’s AI Portfolio during Intel Innovation in San Jose, California.
A Ride-Hailing Service Powered by 100% Renewable Energy
Clint Wheelock, Chief Research Officer at The Futurum Group, examines Waymo’s announcement that it has decided to focus its efforts and investment on Waymo One, its ride-hailing service.
From Digital Transformations To Periodic Software Reviews, Increased Visibility Can Help Reduce Costs and Improve Application Utilization
Keith Kirkpatrick, Research Director at The Futurum Group, covers WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform and discusses why the tool is useful for organizations that are expanding or consolidating their software tech stacks.
Are Consulting Firms Best Positioned To Lead Enterprise AI Transformation?
Mark Beccue, Research Director at The Futurum Group, examines the EY and BCG announcements about major AI initiatives and how these offerings will affect the market.