John Stankey is the COO of AT&T who will be succeeding Randall Stephenson as the CEO of AT&T on July 1 of 2020. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that there has been a huge surge of interest in said individual, seeing as how his leadership will have an enormous effect on the American conglomerate's operations. Fortunately, plenty of interest means that there is plenty of information out there.
1. Came From L.A.
Stankey was raised in Los Angeles, CA. In short, his father was an insurance underwriter while his mother was a housewife, who had a total of three children. Eventually, Stankey went to a L.A.-based school called Loyola Marymount University, which can claim the honor of being one of the biggest Roman Catholic schools that can be found on the United States' West Coast. Something that won't come as a surprise to those who recognize either St. Ignatius of Loyola or the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.
2. Studied Finance
When Stankey was at Loyola Marymount University, he studied finance, which is one of those often-used terms that can be rather difficult to define. At its most fundamental level, finance is focused on money as well as the use of money, meaning that it has a wide range of uses in the corporate context. For example, finance can be used to calculate a project's expected return, thus making it that much easier for interested parties to figure out whether to move forward with it or not. Likewise, finance can be used to provide valuable guidance for companies' cash, inventories, and short-term credit management.
3. Signed Up with Pacific Bell
Upon graduation, Stankey signed up with Pacific Bell. For those who are unfamiliar, the breakup of the Bell System caused the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company to change its name to the Pacific Bell Telephone Company, with Pacific Telesis serving as a holding company for both Pacific Bell and Pacific Bell's subsidiary Nevada Bell. Nowadays, Pacific Bell still exists. However, it is marketed under the name of AT&T. Something that is possible because it was bought out by SBC Communications, which in turn, bought out AT&T Corp. before becoming AT&T Inc.
4. Held Important Positions with SBC Communications
Speaking of which, Stankey held a number of important positions with SBC Communications. It is interesting to note that SBC Communications was also one of the Baby Bells that came into existence because of the breakup of the Bell System. To be exact, it was Southwestern Bell, though it wasn't too long before it started swallowing up other companies, thus prompting the eventual name change to SBC Communications. Eventually, said company managed to buy up its former parent company, thus enabling it to claim its former parent company's history for its very own.
5. Headed Up WarnerMedia
Stankey was the one responsible for overseeing WarnerMedia. In short, WarnerMedia is the result of AT&T buying out Time Warner, which in turn, came into existence because of the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications. However, it doesn't actually encompass all of the units that fell under Time Warner. For example, Time Inc. was split off, with the result that it has since been bought out by Meredith Corporation. Likewise, both Time Warner Cable and Warner Music Group went independent before their former parent company was bought out. Still, WarnerMedia remains substantial, as shown by how its revenues are measured in the tens of billions.
6. His Rise Is an Expected Move
No one can predict the future with perfect accuracy. However, there were a lot of people who expected Stankey to become the next CEO of AT&T. This is because he was raised to the positions of both COO and President in October of 2019, which was seen as a preparatory step for his more recent promotion.
7. His Predecessor Will Be Executive Chairman Until January 1 of 2021
Having said that, no matter how well-prepared someone happens to be for the position of CEO, there will still be some complications in a transition. As a result, it is common for their predecessor to remain involved in some way for some time, as shown by how it has been revealed that Randall Stephenson will be the Executive Chairman until January 1 of 2021. Stankey will be becoming a member of the Board of Directors as well, though he won't be made the Chairman once his predecessor leaves the position. Instead, an independent director will be named to said position.
8. Continuation of the Course
There has been some grumbling about the way that AT&T has been run by its executives. For instance, AT&T took on a lot of debt in order to pick up its media assets, which hasn't been helped by the perception from some quarters that its executives don't have a solid plan in mind for them. Stankey's promotion to the position of CEO can be seen as a continuation of the course in a significant sense. After all, he wasn't just the one entrusted with integrating those media assets but also one of the figures sent out to defend the purchases of those media assets.
9. Has Had Mixed Results with Streaming
Streaming has become big business. However, one of the reasons that the media assets have been criticized is the confused streaming strategy that has been seen so far. In short, there was a streaming service called DirecTV that took a serious hit because of a price increase, with the result that it was renamed AT&T TV Now. However, it was overshadowed by the introduction of AT&T TV, while HBO is planning to introduce a new streaming service that will be more reliant on other WarnerMedia properties. Still, Stankey has remained confident in AT&T's future in streaming services.
10. Seems to Be Interested in Increasing Cooperation Between Units
In the past, Stankey has expressed an interest in increasing cooperation between units by breaking down the barriers between them. Time will tell whether he continues to focus on this initiative as well as what the outcome will be.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee