Randall Stephenson to Retire as AT&T CEO, Stankey to Take Over


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After serving 13 years as AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, 60, will retire as CEO. He will be Executive Chairman of the board of directors until January 2021, to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

The board elected AT&T President and Chief Operating Officer John Stankey as CEO effective July 1, and a member of the board effective June 1.

The company said Friday Stankey’s selection as AT&T’s next CEO completes the final phase of a succession planning process the board began in 2017. That included an evaluation of internal and external candidates. The HR Committee — led by AT&T Director Beth Mooney, comprised of independent directors and supported by outside consultants — conducted a five-month search. 

“Leadership succession is one of the board’s most important responsibilities,” Mooney said. “After an extensive evaluation, it was clear that John Stankey was the right person to lead AT&T into the future.”

Stankey, 57, has been president and COO since October 2019. He joined AT&T in 1985, and has more than 30 years of leadership experience spanning nearly every area of the company’s business, from corporate strategy and technology, to operations and media and entertainment. Stankey has held a variety of roles, including: CEO of WarnerMedia; CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group; Chief Strategy Officer; Chief Technology Officer; CEO of AT&T Operations; and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions.

“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. “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.”

Matt Rose, AT&T’s independent Lead Director, praised Stephenson, saying: “Randall has done an outstanding job as CEO in transforming AT&T into a leader in communications, technology, and media and entertainment. His strong leadership and strategic investments during a period of unprecedented customer demand for mobile communications and premium entertainment have positioned the company extremely well for the years ahead. We look forward to Randall continuing to lead the board and working with John to ensure a smooth leadership transition.”

Later this year, AT&T’s board will elect an independent director to chair the board of Directors when Stephenson retires as executive chairman in January 2021.

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