Verizon Communications: Bruce S. Gordon

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In a career spanning 33 years at Bell operating companies, Bruce S. Gordon has lived through his fair share of name changes, divestitures, mergers and splits. But it wasn't entirely old hat when Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. merged in April 2000 to form Verizon Communications, says the 55-year-old telecom vet, who was charged with implementing a new brand image.

"What was particularly challenging here was going from those comforting [Baby Bell] brands to a dramatically different one," Mr. Gordon says. "This merger, unlike others before it, was transformational." Even the name-Verizon-marked a huge departure and leap of faith for the telco.

As president-retail markets, Mr. Gordon sits on the front lines of Verizon marketing. Earlier this year, Verizon consolidated more than $600 million in ad spending at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Lintas& Partners Worldwide, New York. Within a year of the merger, 98% of the Verizon marketplace was familiar with the new brand.

"We came at it with the most aggressive launch," Mr. Gordon says. And it appears to have paid off. A study conducted by the company in January, less than a year after its launch, found that Verizon stacked up against the likes of such power brands as FedEx and Coca-Cola, achieving the highest overall brand recall.

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