AT&T’s comms chief John Donovan announces retirement

AT&T’s comms chief John Donovan announces retirement

27 August 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

John Donovan, head of the telecoms division of AT&T, is to retire on 1 October.

The company has not yet announced a replacement for Donovan (pictured), a former CTO who became CEO of AT&T Communications in 2017, in preparation for the $85 billion takeover of Time Warner.

Randall Stephenson, the AT&T group’s chairman and CEO, said he “is a terrific leader and a tech visionary who helped drive AT&T’s leadership in connecting customers, from our 5G, fibre and FirstNet buildouts, to new products and platforms, to setting the global standard for software-defined networks”.

Until he became CEO of AT&T Communications, Donovan was chief strategy officer and group president of technology and operations. That change meant he kept technology and operations but added on business solutions as well as mobile, broadband and video services to 100 million  US-based consumers and international business services. AT&T Communications includes the entertainment group, which incorporates DirecTV.

Mobility revenues were up 2.4% in the latest quarter, and the entertainment group put on 2.6% in operating income in the same period. 

Stephenson said: “He led the way in encouraging his team to continuously innovate and develop their skill sets for the future. We greatly appreciate his many contributions to our company’s success and his untiring dedication to serving customers and making our communities better.”

Donovan said: “All that we’ve accomplished is a credit to the talented women and men of AT&T, and their passion for serving our customers. I’m looking forward to the future – spending more time with my family and watching with pride as the AT&T team continues to set the pace for the industry.”

Donovan trained in electrical engineering and before joining AT&T in 2008 he was a partner at Deloitte Consulting, and subsequently spent six years as chairman and CEO of inCode, a telecoms strategy company that was then owned by Verisign but is now part of Ericsson.

He was executive VP of Verisign before joining AT&T in the years after Stephenson-led Southwestern Bell (SBC) bought the old AT&T and adopted its name, and then bought BellSouth.