AT&T is getting a change in leadership. On Friday the telecom giant announced that CEO Randall Stephenson will be retiring after 13 years as chairman and CEO, with company president and chief operating officer John Stankey taking over in the top spot on July 1.
Stephenson, 60, will remain on the company’s board as executive chairman until January 2021. A new independent director will be elected later this year to chair the board after Stephenson leaves in January.
Stankey, 57, previously the CEO of WarnerMedia and AT&T’s entertainment group, has been with the company since 1985, most recently becoming president and COO in October 2019.
The transition comes as AT&T prepares for one of its biggest entertainment endeavors yet with the.
“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.”
Over the past 13 years, Stephenson has overseen a host of major AT&T initiatives, including the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, the update of its wireless service from 3G to 4G and now 5G networks, as well as the expansion of AT&T into entertainment with purchases ofand an .
He also tried to purchase T-Mobile in 2011 for $39 billion but AT&Tamid concerns that it would be blocked by regulators over antitrust implications.
Stephenson is the latest major telecom or media executive to depart in 2020. On April 1 formerafter its merger with Sprint closed and .
Iger has since returned as executive chairman to help the Mouse House in its efforts to navigate the .