AT&T Post-Media Strategy Includes C-Suite Shakeup

On the heels of the telecom giant’s Q1 2022 earnings call, AT&T revealed leadership changes, including moving former CEO of AT&T Communications into the carrier’s COO seat.


One day after announcing Q1 2022 earnings results, AT&T revealed an executive shakeup, complete with a new chief operating officer.

Jeff McElfresh, CEO of the AT&T Communications segment, is being moved into the COO seat, a position that had been occupied by former AT&T President John Stankey, who was promoted to lead the telecom giant in 2020, the Dallas-based company announced internally on Friday.

AT&T earlier this month spun off its hard-fought WarnerMedia unit, which offered entertainment, sports and news assets, to television company Discovery Inc. after buying Time Warner in 2018 for $85.4 billion. AT&T closed the acquisition of the global entertainment and media powerhouse four years ago in the hopes of becoming a media giant, but the carrier has since pivoted its focus back to its core connectivity business.

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The AT&T Communications segment, which housed the carrier’s entertainment services, has become a leaner organization, which sparked speculation that McElfresh (pictured) and other AT&T Communications leaders would possibly be moving into new roles.

As COO, McElfresh will continue to report to Stankey.

[Related: AT&T’s 5 Most Highly Compensated Executives In 2021]

The AT&T C-suite team will also include Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Legg, formerly executive vice president and CTO of AT&T Communications.

Also part of the C-suite is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Growth Officer Kellyn Kenny, who joined the carrier in 2020; and Thaddeus Arroyo, who had been CEO of AT&T’s Consumer business. Arroyo will now be chief strategy and development officer on Stankey’s leadership team.

The carrier has not said publicly whether the leadership changes are effective immediately.

AT&T posted total revenue in Q1 2022 of $38.11 billion, a 13.3 percent decrease from $43.94 billion in the same quarter one year earlier, which the carrier attributed to the impact of its divested businesses and lower business wireline revenue. Net income was $4.76 billion for the quarter compared with $7.50 billion in first quarter of 2021. For the quarter that ended March 31, the carrier posted Business Wireless Services revenue that climbed 8.4 percent and Business Solutions revenue that declined by 1.6 percent year over year.