AT&T and Time Warner have officially released the executive structure that will be put in place following the close of its $85 billion Time Warner acquisition.
John Stankey will lead AT&T's Time Warner merger integration and work with Time Warner Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes before Stankey takes over as CEO of AT&T's media company. Stankey will take on the role running Time Warner after previously serving as CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group.
Stankey will still report to Randall Stephenson, who will remain AT&T chairman and CEO.
Stankey’s promotion follows reports that he would be leading AT&T after the merger as co-CEO along with John Donovan, while Stephenson would take on the role of executive chairman. Stephenson rebuked that report, calling it speculation.
Donovan, current chief strategy officer for AT&T, will become CEO of AT&T Communications—including AT&T's Business Solutions, Entertainment Group, and Technology & Operations groups—after the merger.
In addition, Global Marketing Officer Lori Lee will assume leadership of AT&T International.
The executive team shuffling comes amid reports that the merger is in the home stretch with regulators, despite continued scrutiny from lawmakers.
According to Bloomberg, before the deal is given the U.S. government’s go-ahead, AT&T is being asked to make vows of good behavior, including not granting unfair preference for its own programming. If the deal is approved, AT&T will own Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO and Turner networks including CNN, TBS and TNT.
Many lawmakers and even President Donald Trump have expressed concerns over AT&T’s and Time Warner’s combined market power. Earlier this year, in response to Democratic Senators’ requests for clarification over the potential benefits of the deal, Stephenson and Bewkes submitted a letter spelling out the potential upside.
“AT&T and Time Warner have both encountered such friction as they have sought to bring innovations to market. That friction has kept consumers from getting the full suite of innovative features that they want,” the companies wrote.
Specific video-related innovations that AT&T and Time Warner see possible post-merger include:
- Short-form programming optimized for presentation on mobile devices
- Interactive and personalized methods of viewing sports and other live events
- More relevant advertising in ad-supported video services
- Integrations of professionally produced content with virtual reality or augmented reality services
- Services that encourage consumers to combine professionally produced content with their own creative content and share the results on social media
- Greater choice, convenience and value in programming bundles