Randall Stephenson is retiring from AT&T, he said on Friday. John Stankey, the company’s president and chief operating officer, will take over as AT&T CEO on July 1. One month earlier, Stankey will become a member of AT&T’s board of directors.
Stephenson (pictured above, left), who has been with AT&T for 38 years, will serve as executive chairman of that board until January 2021. Later this year, AT&T will elect an independent director to chair the board when Randall leaves that post.
Stankey (above, right) is also an AT&T lifer, having joined the company in 1985. His appointment to the top job comes as a result of succession planning that the company says began back in 2017. Stankey, 57, is just three years younger than Stephenson.
“I congratulate John, and I look forward to partnering with him as the leadership team moves forward on our strategic initiatives while navigating the difficult economic and health challenges currently facing our country and the world,” Stephenson said in a statement. “John has the right experiences and skills, and the unflinching determination every CEO needs to act on his convictions. He has a terrific leadership team onboard to ensure AT&T remains strong and continues to deliver for customers and shareholders for years to come.”
“I’m honored to be elected the next CEO of AT&T, a company with a rich history and a bright future,” Stankey said. “My thanks go to Randall for his vision and outstanding leadership during a period of tremendous change and investment in the core capabilities needed to position AT&T well for the years ahead. And I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me leading the company during our next chapter of growth and innovation in keeping people connected, informed and entertained. We have a strong company, leading brands and a great employee team, which I’m privileged to lead. I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities we have to serve our customers and communities and create value for our shareholders.”
AT&T, the parent company of WarnerMedia, reported disappointing Q1 2020 financials on Wednesday. Read all about those here. As you’ll see, cord-cutting has been a persistent problem for the former Ma Bell.