AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is stepping down. WarnerMedia boss John Stankey will take over.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is stepping down from the company, just days after the telecom operator reported it lost 3.42 million video subscribers in 2019, per NBC News, John Stankey will become the company’s new CEO, taking over at one of the most challenging times in economic history for AT&T. Stephenson will become executive chairman of the board of directors until January 2021, according to a statement. He had been chief executive for 13 years.
NBC adds that the timing means AT&T will have a new leader at one of the most challenging times in economic history. With unemployment at a record high, consumers are struggling to pay for internet and phone connections. The company is also making a multibillion dollar bet on the transformation of video consumption, launching a costly streaming venture, HBO Max, which launches May 27. Heading into the pandemic, AT&T was already struggling with a large debt load and there have been questions about how it will continue to pay shareholders a dividend. The company ended the last quarter with $147.2 billion in long-term debt.
Stephenson is the second major chief executive to step down as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take an economic toll. Disney chief executive Bob Iger also said he was stepping down, but maintains an ongoing operational role at the company.
President Donald Trump, once friendly with Stephenson, wasted no time jabbing him over his departure.