The former AT&T chairman and CEO moves closer to his final exit from the telco giant with a one year, $1 million consultancy deal.
It’s a changing of the guard at AT&T, which revealed Friday that CEO Randall Stephenson is retiring and chief operating officer John Stankey will take the top job as of July 1. The move was announced at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders. Stephenson, 60, and chairman-CEO for the past 13 years, will serve as executive chairman of the board of directors until January to ensure a smooth transition.
The company is looking for assets it can sell off to pay down its Time Warner acquisition, while CEO Randall Stephenson will stay on through 2020.
The association’s CEO Gordon Smith says: “DirecTV is doing a serious disservice to both its customers and to Congress by running these misleading messages. We urge you to reconsider … and to work with local broadcasters to ensure that all DirecTV customers receive their network programming from local TV affiliates.”
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey, who is overseeing AT&T’s takeover and integration of Time Warner, made $16.55 million in 2018, up 64% from $10.01 million a year before. In an SEC filing on Monday, AT&T also reported that CEO Randall Stephenson, whose giant telecommunications company also owns and runs DirecTV, saw his total compensation last year rise to $29.1 million, against a year-earlier $28.7 million.
AT&T Inc.’s boss Randall Stephenson said the company may shift resources to HBO from other parts of its newly acquired Time Warner business to step up programming investments and use data on its customers’ tastes and habits to inform its content bets, part of a plan to compete with streaming giant Netflix.
AT&T’s CEO touted the upcoming next-generation version of DirecTV Now, set to debut this spring, as a way to open up a new market for the vMVPD service. “With new functionality, we think we can get higher penetration,” Randall Stephenson said during the company’s 4Q earnings call Wednesday. “We’re actually very bullish on DirecTV Now. We’re convinced the economics will continue to improve as we move over the next couple of years.”
CEO Randall Stephenson disputed claims that he offered to sell CNN to win government approval of AT&T’s pending acquisition of CNN’s parent company Time Warner. “I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN. Period. And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN,” Stephenson said. But AT&T is also getting ready for a possible court battle, he said.
Randall Stephenson will remain chief executive, while Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan steps up to run consumer units, including mobile, DirecTV, streaming service DirecTV Now and AT&T U-Verse. John Stankey, who has been running DirecTV, will oversee Time Warner.
Last week’s launch of DirecTV Now was plagued with errors, but AT&T says it’s thrilled with the early interest in its new streaming bundle offering. “The early demand has been rather dramatic … we’ve been pleased with it,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman, CEO and president, said this morning at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York
AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner is one of the biggest media mergers in years. Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, and Jeff Bewkes, chairman-CEO of Time Warner, make the case for why the combination is good for consumers and should be cleared by regulators.