AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Retires As The Company Navigates A Pandemic And Streaming Wars

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is stepping down as the company’s chief as COO John Stankey takes over the position in July.

Stankey is taking over at a strange time as the company navigates a growing pandemic and deals with a budding live stream war. AT&T is also dealing with competition after Sprint and T-Mobile merged on April 1 after a lengthy merger process.

AT&T said Friday that Stephenson will remain executive chairman until January 2021 “to ensure a smooth leadership transition.”

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, weighed in on Stephenson’s retirement as well.

“Great News! Randall Stephenson, the CEO of heavily indebted AT&T, which owns and presides over Fake News @CNN, is leaving, or was forced out. Anyone who lets a garbage “network” do and say the things that CNN does, should leave ASAP. Hopefully replacement will be much better!” Trump wrote Friday following the news. 

The president is often critical of AT&T over its ownership of CNN, a media outlet that frequently finds itself on the blunt end of Trump’s barbs.

AT&T is working to change with the market as consumers spend more time streaming content amid economic lockdowns. The company is partnering with HBO to launch a subscription-based service while analysts say customers will reconsider subscription services. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Republican AG Raises Concerns About A Sprint, T-Mobile Merger)

“Leadership succession is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities,” AT&T board director Beth Mooney said in a press statement addressing the decision to select Stankey. “After an extensive evaluation, it was clear that John Stankey was the right person to lead AT&T into the future.”

Stankey was named president and COO of AT&T in October 2019. He was considered the first in line to take over for Stephenson after the promotion.

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