Verizon's CEO A No-Show At CES

Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam has cancelled his appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, adding to the pubic relations woes the carrier company has endured in the past couple of weeks.

McAdam was slated to give a keynote speech at the Las Vegas show, but will not attend due to a schedule conflict. According to published reports, Verizon is intending to send a substitute, but has not named anyone yet to fill McAdam's shoes.

McAdam was scheduled to participate in part of CES' Innovation Power Panel next Wednesday morning, along with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and For Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally. McAdam was still listed as a keynote speaker on the CES 2012 Web site at press time.

The announcement concludes a rough couple of weeks for the telecom giant. In late December, some Verizon customers complained about being unable to connect to the company's 4G LTE network numerous times during the month. Verizon temporarily had to switch those customers back onto its 3G network. Still, as the company noted in a statement, "For brief periods, such as on Wednesday (12/28), 4G LTE customers could not connect to the 3G Network as quickly as we would have liked."

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Verizon said the difficulties stemmed from various technical reasons, and assured customers it had resolved the problems. In addition, the carrier noted its 4G LTE connectivity had been reliable 99 percent of 2011. According to the release, Verizon was: "taking a number of steps, working closely with our network suppliers, to ensure the integrity of our 4G LTE Network. We continue to fortify and improve its performance, and our goal is that our 4G LTE Network meets the same high standards that our 3G Network has set for performance and reliability."

Verizon was also under the gun at the end of December for a pricing scheme it announced that would charge customers a $2 convenience fee for the ability to pay their bills online or over the telephone. The fee would have affected customers wishing to use those means for single payments (rather than those that are regularly scheduled and automated). Customer grousing continued until Dec. 30, when the company, in response to negative customer feedback, withdrew the plan.

Like Verizon, CES itself has also endured some recent headaches. In addition to a major keynote speaker dropping out this year, CES was also hit with the news that Microsoft will no longer participate in the show after this year.