The following press release comes from AT&T:
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced that John Stankey has been appointed president and chief operating officer of AT&T Inc., effective Oct. 1, a new position reporting to Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. Stankey will also continue serving as CEO of WarnerMedia.
The company named AT&T executive Jeff McElfresh CEO of AT&T Communications LLC effective
Oct. 1, replacing John Donovan, who earlier announced his retirement. McElfresh will lead AT&T’s largest business unit, AT&T Communications, a global telecom leader serving 100 million mobile, broadband and pay-TV customers in the United States, and millions of business customers, including nearly all of the Fortune 1000.
Reporting to Stankey in his expanded role will be: McElfresh; his current WarnerMedia executive team; and Brian Lesser, CEO of Xandr.
“Now is the time to more tightly align our collection of world-class content, scaled consumer relationships, technical know-how and innovative advertising technology,” said Stephenson. “It’s the natural next step in bringing together the distinct and complimentary capabilities of AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia and Xandr to deliver for consumers the benefits of a modern media company. AT&T is alone in the industry in being able to bring together these three great businesses for the launch of innovative consumer offers, relevant advertising and new entertainment services like HBO Max.
“John is an outstanding executive who has led nearly every area of our business, helped shape our strategy and excelled at operations throughout his career. The Board and I look forward to John hitting the ground running in his new role as president and COO,” Stephenson said.
“And I’m excited to have Jeff leading our communications business into the future. He is an accomplished leader with experience across our business — from strategy, technology and network, to marketing, operations and customer experience. This past year, Jeff led the team that won AT&T recognition for having the best, fastest and most reliable wireless network in the country,” Stephenson said.
Stankey, 56, joined AT&T in 1985 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including: corporate strategy and M&A; media and entertainment; operations, IT and technology; consumer mobility, broadband and TV; and enterprise business.
McElfresh, 48, has nearly 25 years of experience with AT&T in a variety of strategic, operational and technology leadership roles. Before being named to lead AT&T Communications, McElfresh was president of AT&T Communications’ Technology and Operations group where he was responsible for the company’s network, technology, cybersecurity, data and labs operations. Prior to that, he served as: CEO of AT&T’s Vrio and its DIRECTV Latin America and SKY Brasil businesses; and President of AT&T Mexico and a member of the board of directors and executive committee of Telmex and América Móvil, overseeing AT&T’s since-divested minority interest in the two companies.
There’s your answer
A lot of people were wondering who would step into the shoes recently vacated by John Donovan. Mr. Donovan announced his plans to retire October 1, opening up a key operational role in the company. Mr. Donovan supervised, and Mr. McElfresh will supervise, several business units that make up AT&T Communications. One of those business units is the DIRECTV satellite operation.
Mr. Stankey, who had recently moved into a full-time operational role heading WarnerMedia, now steps into a role one step below chair and CEO Randall Stephenson.
The ship is in good hands
I’ve never met Mr. McElfresh but I was privileged to spend a short amount of time with Mr. Stankey several years ago and I was impressed by his vision and candor. This is a person who really understands the communications business from the bottom up and I think there’s no better person to move into that #2 spot. Looking at Mr. McElfresh’s resume, it’s clear he’s also a tech guy and that speaks well for the future of the world’s largest pay-TV operation.