Alexander Tamargo/Getty; AT� Rodin Eckenroth/Stringer; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
AT&T is a legacy telecom company with modern ambitions.
The Dallas, Texas-based company is an old-school wireless and wireline operator with aspirations of going head to head with Verizon in the race to create a ubiquitous 5G network in the US.
And with its acquisition of Time Warner, it cemented it’s ability to control both the pipes of distribution of internet into homes, and media content creation. It’s now aiming to do battle with Disney and Netflix to dominate the OTT streaming ecosystem.
Business Insider spoke to industry experts and analyzed comments at investor presentations to identify the business units and leaders that are key to carrying out these agendas. AT&T declined the opportunity to contribute to the list.
Here are the people who are leading the telco giant forward.
John Stankey, CEO, WarnerMedia
In February, a panel of justices rejected the DOJ’s appeal of the US government’s antitrust suit against the AT&T-Time Warner deal.
That brought to a close a nearly three year acquisition process and allowed AT&T to fully lean into plans to launch a media juggernaut that can compete with Netflix.
Stankey sits at the top of WarnerMedia, and oversaw a corporate reorganization at the beginning of 2019 which dismantled the siloed nature of the businesses to encourage more cross collaboration, CFRA analyst Keith Snyder told Business Insider.
The reorg resulted in a thorough house cleaning of Time Warner executives.
Former Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, former HBO CEO Richard Plepler, former HBO president Simon Sutton, and former global distribution head at HBO Bernadette Aulestia, all announced exists in 2019.
Stankey will need to steady the ship as the Time Warner integration continues. He’s the second highest paid executive at AT&T, making $16.6 million to AT&T Randall Stephenson’s $29.1 million in 2018.
Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer
Most experts that spoke with Business Insider said they are most interested in the direct-to-consumer streaming service AT&T is set to launch. The company has offered scant details on the service, but says more information will be available in September or October.
Bob Greenblatt is the AT&T executive managing the release of the service. He is brand new to the ranks of AT&T, joining the company in March, and was previously chairman of NBCUniversal.
Analysts are most interested in what content Greenblatt decides to include in the service and the price at which it’s offered.
Cowen analyst Colby Synesael believes consumers will settle on paying for three to five OTT services and Greenblatt will need to offer a compelling price and content package to get customers to sign up.
Analysts are also interested to see how aggressive AT&T will be outside the United States, he said.
Greenblatt also oversees HBO, TNT, TBS and truTV.
HBO in particular has been performing well and analysts are expecting a healthy bump in second quarter earnings from "Game of Thrones" season eight, analyst Keith Snyder said. But there will be a large hole in their lineup to fill when the season ends.
Greenblatt turned NBC around and AT&T has high hopes he’ll be able to do the same with its newly acquired media assets, Snyder said.
John Donovan, CEO, AT&T Communications
Kevin Hagen / Stringer
As CEO of AT&T Communications, John Donovan runs what can be thought of as the legacy AT&T business. These are the traditional telecommunications assets like wireless, entertainment — including satellite technology business DirecTV — and enterprise.
Donovan’s purview means he runs the largest wireless businesses in the world, overseeing 153 million US customers, and the largest pay-TV provider in the US, with about 25 million subscribers between its DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and U-Verse services.
Donovan has been with the company for more than two decades and, as is a common at the company, has had a number of different job functions. He previously served as AT&T’s CTO.
In 2018, his total compensation was $14.6 million.
The following business leaders report into Donovan.
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