Communications infrastructure provider American Tower tapped its CFO Thomas Bartlett (pictured, below) to take over as CEO effective immediately, as long-time chief Jim Taiclet exited to lead aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin.

Taiclet, CEO since 2003, will continue as chairman until the company’s 2020 shareholder meeting (typically held in May) and advise Bartlett until 14 June 2020.

In a statement, lead independent director Pamela Reeve said Bartlett is “uniquely qualified to take the reins as CEO and drive the company to even greater success” in domestic and international markets, and capitalise on “emerging areas of opportunity”.

Bartlett joined American Tower as CFO in 2009, following a more than 25-year career at Verizon during which he became SVP and corporate controller.

Rodney Smith, the tower company’s treasurer and SVP of corporate finance, was promoted to EVP and CFO.

The leadership shuffle comes at a key juncture for American Tower, as the company works to navigate significant changes in the US and India markets.

On a recent call with investors, Taiclet said the company is focused on long-term prospects in India, where the financial effects of regulatory changes on operators are expected to put a damper on network spending.

In the US, he added the company is eyeing new opportunities from Dish Network’s expected entrance into the mobile market and the introduction of new 5G spectrum, which will require operators to densify their networks.