WarnerMedia Head Stankey Named to AT&T COO Post

AT&T said that John Stankey, the CEO of its WarnerMedia unit, has additionally been appointed president and COO, new positions at the company.

At the same time, AT&T said that Jeff McElfresh has been named CEO of AT&T’s Communications unit, He succeeds John Donovan, who announced plans to retire last month.

In his new role as COO, Stankey will have McElfresh and Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T’s advertising unit Xandr reporting to him, as well as his current WarnerMedia staff.

The move puts AT&T’s content, distribution and advertising units all under Stankey’s purview.

Stankey reports to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

“Now is the time to more tightly align our collection of world-class content, scaled consumer relationships, technical know-how and innovative advertising technology,” said Stephenson. “It’s the natural next step in bringing together the distinct and complimentary capabilities of AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia and Xandr to deliver for consumers the benefits of a modern media company. AT&T is alone in the industry in being able to bring together these three great businesses for the launch of innovative consumer offers, relevant advertising and new entertainment services like HBO Max.”

Stankey joined AT&T in 1985.

McElfresh has been at AT&T for nearly 25 years and most recently was president of AT&T Communications’ technology and operations group.

“I’m excited to have Jeff leading our communications business into the future. He is an accomplished leader with experience across our business — from strategy, technology and network, to marketing, operations and customer experience. This past year, Jeff led the team that won AT&T recognition for having the best, fastest and most reliable wireless network in the country,” Stephenson said.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.