John Stephens will retire as CFO of AT&T next March, ending a 28-year run at the company, and will hand the reins to WarnerMedia CFO Pascal Desroches.
The change is slated to take effect on April 1. It comes as AT&T continues to work to lower its debt load and steer WarnerMedia through a major restructuring effort. A major corporate focus continues to be HBO Max, the subscription streaming offering that launched last May.
During the transition period, Desroches will serve as AT&T’s senior EVP of finance.
Stephens became CFO in 2011 and played a key role in transactions such as the telecom giant’s acquisitions of DirecTV and Time Warner. The latter deal, first proposed in October 2016, made AT&T a major media player. But it also encountered fierce resistance from antitrust regulators, with legal challenges continuing until the early months of 2019.
“I greatly appreciate John’s outstanding leadership, tireless dedication and many significant contributions to AT&T over the years,” CEO John Stankey said in the official announcement. “His financial expertise and strong commitment to our investors, employees and customers have been invaluable as we invested to become a leader in connectivity and content. He has helped us maintain the financial strength and flexibility needed to create long-term value for shareowners. While he won’t be retiring until next spring, I want to take this opportunity to wish John and his family all our best in the years ahead.”
Desroches was CFO at Turner and global controller at Time Warner prior to assuming the CFO role at WarnerMedia. He previously was a partner at KPMG and a senior advisor to the chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Pascal is an impressive financial executive whose strategic thinking and leadership I’ve seen first-hand at WarnerMedia. His deep and broad experience spans media and telecom, as well as corporate finance, public accounting and regulatory compliance,” Stankey said. “I look forward to working closely with him again as we execute on our plans across AT&T to invest in our growth platforms, operate effectively and efficiently, and deliver value to our investors and customers.”
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