Stephenson: "I'll still be AT&T CEO once Time Warner deal closes"

James Pearce
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According to CNBC, Randall Stephenson will still be AT&T CEO once it merges with Time Warner, despite reports claiming he was set for a new exec chairman role within the company

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson has dismissed claims his job role will change once the operator acquires Time Warner, saying he’ll still be CEO once the deal is done.

A Bloomberg article claimed the US operator is planning major organisational changes once the $85.4  billion merger is complete, which would see Stephenson’s role redefined.

Sources told the news organisation he would drop the title of CEO, a position he has held for a decade, to become the company’s executive chairman. The change would see two CEO’s reporting into Stephenson, according to Bloomberg, each representing the firm’s media and telecoms arm respectively.

However, in an email to Joe Kernen, the host of “Squawk Box”, Stephenson denied the report, saying it was “full of speculation”. "I will not be changing my title," Stephenson added. "I'll still be CEO."

If true, the restructure would see John Stankey, who heads up DirecTV and other entertainment businesses, leading the media division, including Time Warner, according to Bloomberg.

Strategy chief John Donovan, meanwhile, would take control of AT&T’s telecoms unit, which would include traditional phone businesses and DirecTV.

It’s important to note that Stephenson did not deny there would be a restructure of the company, only saying he would retain his title as CEO. In fact, CNBC quoted that backed up Bloomberg’s claims about a new structure at the company, although perhaps with different job titles to those cited.

This leaves a question mark over the future of current Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes, who is working with Stephenson to develop an integration plan once the mega-merger is complete. Bewkes has previously said he plans to stay with the company for at least one or two years once the deal is complete, but beyond that, is future is unclear.