Bell Atlantic Goes Gunning for Top Telcos

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Maura C. Breen doesn't give herself much of a break.

Fresh from overseeing the launch of Bell Atlantic's jump into marketing long-distance service in early January, the 43-year-old president-CEO of Bell Atlantic Communications is already talking about new challenges for the Bell Atlantic Corp. subsidiary that markets long-distance service to about 22 million homes along the East Coast.

"We're really gunning for AT&T, MCI and Sprint," says Ms. Breen. "We're keeping a close eye on what [those companies] are doing, and we're going to be ready."

Bell Atlantic's introductory long-distance campaign, themed "Simplicity," is from Arnold Communications, Boston. Keeping things simple and direct is the message Ms. Breen wants most to be communicated about Bell Atlantic's long-distance services.

Toward that goal, Ms. Breen often acts as the moderator between what can be two warring factions, those on the marketing side and the technology gurus.

"Sometimes marketing teams come up with fabulous ideas, and sometimes the technology people have what they say is the end all and be all, and it's translating all of that into something meaningful, that takes particular kinds of skill sets," she says.

Throughout her 20-year career at Bell Atlantic, Ms. Breen has led multiple efforts to market communications services. Working her way steadily upward, she has held positions as the company's VP-operations, consumer sales and service, and VP-consumer sales and service for New York and New England.

Most recently, she was VP-sales and service for Bell's Consumer Division.

She is known for consistently delivering results in the most competitive of market situations, seamlessly leading efforts that combine a knowledge both of technology and of consumers.

"I always have been able to bring together what consumers want and the technology, products and services," says Ms. Breen. "We've gone from being a monopoly to a competitive business, and that requires a skill set that is very different from the past."

Ms. Breen is Rockefeller Fellow of the New York City Partnership, a civic leadership program that brings executives into contact with the inner workings of New York. But Ms. Breen, whose father was once mayor of a Connecticut city, denies any political aspirations.

"I can't say I'm interested in going that way; I'm just hoping I can stay in this position for at least a year," she laughs. "I'd like to launch this business and prove how successful we can be in this marketplace."

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