Heir Apparent Emerges for AT&T’s Top Job

Sep 3, 2019  •  Post A Comment

A potential successor to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson is in place after the company named John Stankey, who has been running WarnerMedia, as president and chief operating officer.

Variety notes that the move follows the announcement of the retirement of John Donovan, the head of AT&T Communications. Donovan was long considered the company’s No. 2 executive.

“Stankey will continue to run WarnerMedia, but will now have oversight of AT&T’s ad-tech unit, Xandr, and the AT&T Communications unit, which includes DirecTV and the company’s wireless operations,” Variety notes.

The report quotes a prepared statement from Stephenson in which he says: “Now is the time to more tightly align our collection of world-class content, scaled consumer relationships, technical know-how and innovative advertising technology. It’s the natural next step in bringing together the distinct and complementary capabilities of AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia and Xandr to deliver for consumers the benefits of a modern media company.”

Variety adds: “Jeff McElfresh, who has served as president of technology and operations at AT&T Communications, will take over that unit and report to Stankey.”

The report notes that other executives at WarnerMedia may now be expected to be given additional responsibilities.

“WarnerMedia has parted ways with many of its most senior executives in recent months as AT&T has taken more control of the reins,” Variety adds. “Among those leaving [are] Richard Plepler, the former HBO chief; David Levy, the former Turner president who supervised advertising and affiliate sales and sports; and Kevin Tsujihara, the former Warner Brothers chief.”

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