Ex-CTO John Stankey to take over as AT&T CEO in July
Former CTO John Stankey will become CEO of AT&T from the beginning of July, on the retirement of Randall Stephenson after 13 years in the role.
Stankey (pictured) will not be chairman, as Stephenson will continue to be executive chairman of the company until January 2021.
“Leadership succession is one of the board’s most important responsibilities,” said Beth Mooney, the AT&T director who chaired the committee in charge of succession. “After an extensive evaluation, it was clear that John Stankey was the right person to lead AT&T into the future.”
Mooney’s committee – comprised entirely of independent directors and supported by outside consultants – spent five months to search for the successor to Stephenson, though Stankey was being recognised as heir apparent in September 2019, when he became president and CTO.
Stankey, three years younger than Stephenson, started with a finance degree but has been in many technology roles – chief information officer when the current AT&T was formed when SBC Communications took over the old AT&T in 2005, and later CTO and then chief strategy officer.
More recently he has been CEO of WarnerMedia, following AT&T’s $85 billion takeover of the media company in 2018.
Stephenson said: “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.”
Stankey commented: “We have a strong company, leading brands and a great employee team, which I’m privileged to lead.”
Stankey is unlikely to be chairman as well as CEO. The board made it clear that later this year will elect an independent director to chair the board of directors when Stephenson retires as executive chairman in January 2021.