(Reuters) – Veteran John Stankey will consider around as AT&T main government officer, the company mentioned on Friday, as the US telecommunications and media huge grapples with the effect of the coronavirus outbreak and its late entrance into the global streaming wars.
Stankey will consider around on July 1 from Randall Stephenson, who mentioned on Friday he will retire from the CEO posture but will provide as government chairman of the board until eventually January 2021.
The announcement, created in the course of AT&T’s virtual yearly shareholder meeting, drew a sharp reaction from U.S. President Donald Trump, who tweeted it was “terrific news” that Stephenson was leaving.
“Anyone who allows a rubbish “network” do and say the things that CNN does, must go away ASAP. Hopefully alternative will be significantly greater!” he wrote.
Stankey oversaw WarnerMedia after AT&T’s $eighty five billion buy of media company Time Warner, as effectively as the generation of HBO Max, the new streaming company that will launch May well 27. He was also promoted to COO very last 12 months.
The good results of HBO Max will be a significant examination of Stankey’s purpose as AT&T hopes to compete with streaming giants like Netflix Inc and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+.
AT&T, which confronted some criticism from HBO enthusiasts and the imaginative group, is betting the company can reach broader attraction with strike demonstrates like “Mates” when hanging onto far more sophisticated audiences with “Succession” and similar demonstrates.
AT&T’s board reviewed both exterior and internal candidates for the CEO purpose as section of a succession scheduling method started in 2017, Stephenson mentioned.
“Right after an in depth evaluation, it was crystal clear that John Stankey was the suitable particular person to lead AT&T into the potential,” he mentioned.
New York-primarily based activist investor Elliott Administration called for a shake-up at AT&T very last autumn, urging the company to conclusion its obtaining spree and improve its operating companies. The hedge fund also questioned Stankey’s management techniques and AT&T’s desire to advertise him to the best purpose.
By late Oct, AT&T struck a truce with Elliott and unveiled a three-12 months plan that bundled marketing up to US$10 billion value of companies, shelling out off financial debt and introducing two new board associates.
Elliott mentioned Friday it supports Stankey’s appointment to CEO.
“We have been engaged with the company throughout the research method, which was a robust a single, such as a selection of very experienced exterior candidates and overseen by independent directors,” mentioned Jesse Cohen, a spouse at Elliott Administration. “We seem forward to operating with John as he commences his time period as CEO.”
A continuing problem for Stankey will be to stitch jointly AT&T’s media organization with its telephone, Television and web items, to create an promoting powerhouse. Brian Lesser, who led AT&T promoting unit Xandr, resigned very last month.
“My commitment is, you can expect to get my best from me each day,” Stankey mentioned.
His appointment must appear as no shock, a single investor mentioned. “Stankey has been operating the company for at least the earlier several months. This has been effectively telegraphed to the sector,” mentioned Sam Hendel, president and a co-portfolio manager at expenditure company Levin Easterly, which owns 1.93 million AT&T shares.
On Wednesday, AT&T pulled its money forecast for the 12 months and mentioned the coronavirus pandemic clouded its see for the foreseeable potential.
AT&T shares were down marginally at US$29.45 in afternoon buying and selling.