AT&T CEO Whitacre To Retire; Board Names Stephenson As Successor
Transformed the Smallest Phone Company to the World's Largest
San Antonio, Texas, April 27, 2007
- Edward E. Whitacre – Bio
- Randall L. Stephenson – Bio
- James D. Ellis – Bio
- D. Wayne Watts – Bio
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Edward E. Whitacre Jr., who led the transformation of the smallest "Baby Bell" into the world's largest communications company, today announced that he will retire as chairman of the board and chief executive officer effective June 3.
The Board of Directors has chosen Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T's chief operating officer, to succeed Whitacre as chairman and CEO.
"I have had the extraordinary privilege to lead this company for 17 years, and I leave with complete confidence in the future of our great company," said Whitacre. "Randall Stephenson is an exceptional leader. He has a deep understanding of this business and a clear sense of where it should go."
Whitacre, 65, is the longest-serving CEO in the telecommunications industry, and one of the longest-serving in the Fortune 500. He has been Chairman and CEO since 1990, when the company was Southwestern Bell, then the smallest of the so-called "Baby Bells." During his tenure, Whitacre led a dramatic transformation of the company into the new AT&T, the world's largest communications company, re-shaping the telecommunications landscape in the process.
Today, AT&T is the number one wireless and broadband service provider in the U.S., and is rolling out groundbreaking Internet Protocol-based television service. AT&T also leads in serving small, medium and large business customers, offering service to more than 100 nations.
"Ed Whitacre is an extraordinary leader. His vision, boldness and tireless commitment have helped transform the industry and make AT&T what it is today -- a global leader," said Stephenson.
"We have great momentum, a great foundation for growth and an experienced management team with a track record of delivering strong results," said Stephenson. "Our focus will not change. We're dedicated to the same vision, strategy and focus on growing and improving the business, and giving customers great products and services, that have made AT&T a leader in nearly every segment of the industry. We're confident in our direction and our ability to execute for our customers and shareowners."
During Stephenson's tenure as chief operating officer, the company has outperformed its peers in nearly every category. Today, AT&T leads the industry in wireless, business, broadband, voice and directory and is gaining momentum in the TV market. Also, Stephenson, 47, helped lead AT&T's very successful integration of several major acquisitions over the past few years.
Born in Oklahoma City, Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in the information technology organization in Oklahoma. He then progressed through a series of leadership positions in finance, including an international assignment in Mexico City, and in 1996 was named controller for SBC Communications. Additionally, Mr. Stephenson has served as senior vice president-Performance Assurance and senior vice president-Consumer Marketing.
Before becoming COO, Mr. Stephenson was senior executive vice president and chief financial officer for SBC, during which time the company reduced its net debt from $30 billion to near zero by early 2004, positioning the company to make strategic acquisitions of AT&T Wireless, AT&T Corp. and BellSouth.
In 2005 Mr. Stephenson was appointed to the new AT&T's board of directors. Additionally, he served on the Cingular Wireless board of directors from 2001 to 2006, and as chairman in 2003 – 2004.
He is also a member of the board of directors of Emerson and serves as vice chairman of the White House's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
AT&T's 2006 pro forma revenues of $117 billion and market capitalization of approximately $244 billion place it among the top 10 U.S. companies by both measures. In 2006, the company generated total shareholder returns of 53 percent, and thus far in 2007, the stock us up 10 percent.
Whitacre and Stephenson both committed to a smooth, seamless and efficient transition. "We have a well-planned succession process underway, and it will be transparent for our customers, our employees and our investors," said Whitacre.
In addition, James D. Ellis, AT&T's senior executive vice president and general counsel, announced his retirement. Wayne Watts, the company's senior vice president and associate general counsel, will replace Ellis upon Ellis' retirement.
The announcements were made at the company's annual stockholders meeting held today in San Antonio.
AT&T Inc. is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation's leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at www.att.com.
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