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Technology Stocks : AT&T
T 27.31+0.5%Jan 18 4:02 PM EST

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From: Sr K4/24/2020 11:06:31 AM
   of 4271
WSJ today

11:02 AM

AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said he will retire at the end of June, handing leadership of one of the world’s largest media and telecommunications companies to longtime deputy John Stankey.

Mr. Stephenson said he will remain chairman of the Dallas company until January, when the company is expected to elect an independent chairman. The change was announced at the company’s annual meeting Friday, which was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Stephenson, who turned 60 this week, has spent most of his 13 years as chairman and CEO piecing together a modern media company by scooping up DirecTV and then Time Warner, remaking the staid telephone company he inherited.

He had been preparing to retire in 2020 until an activist investor surfaced late last year challenging his strategy, according to people familiar with the matter.

His exit comes after the company reached a truce with the activist investor, Elliott Management, which had been pushing for a strategic review of assets and questioned Mr. Stankey’s elevation to succeed Mr. Stephenson. Last year, AT&T promoted Mr. Stankey, then the head of its media unit, to No. 2 role as chief operating officer.

After reaching a truce with Elliott, AT&T said Mr. Stephenson would stay at the helm through this year.

AT&T said the leadership change came after a five-month search process overseen by the company’s independent board members, which evaluated external and internal candidates. Mr. Stephenson said the board began its succession planning in 2017 and the decision to promote Mr. Stankey was unanimous.
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