Telecommunications giant AT&T is planning to have the management of media and telecommunications operations split once its acquisition of Time Warner is completed. According to sources John Stankey, a veteran executive of AT&T, is expected to head Time Warner. In 2016 AT&T announced that it would be acquiring Time Warner for approximately $85 billion in a deal that would involve both cash and stock.
The reorganization will result in two divisions namely the media unit which will consist of CNN, Warner Bros and HBO. Then there will be the wireless communications business of ATT and the satellite television business of DirecTV.
Randall Stephenson to remain
In the new management structure, Randall Stephenson, the chief executive officer and chairman of AT&T would head the entire company as an executive chairman with two chief executive officers under him.
“Randall Stephenson will remain chairman and CEO after we close the Time Warner transaction,” said Larry Solomon, a spokesperson for AT&T.
According to the spokesperson, a new organizational chart was still being developed. Though incomplete it will resemble that of Comcast Corp where the chief executive officer and chairman of Comcast, Brian Roberts, has two unit chiefs under him. One heads NBCUniversal while the other is the chief of the cable unit.
Stankey, who has been at AT&T for three decades is at present heading the entertainment business of the telecommunication giant. The entertainment unit has its offices close to Los Angeles and it includes DirecTV. Other roles he has had at AT&T include being chief of strategy. He has also worked at the company’s traditional telecommunication business.
The new structure will also see DirecTV combined with the telecommunication operations of AT&T. Dallas, Texas, is the headquarters of these operations which include bother the landline and wireless business. In the proposed structure, John Donovan, the current chief strategy officer of AT&T, would take the role of running this unit.
Despite the proposed separation of the entertainment and telecommunications business, it remains to be seen whether the move will satisfy the concerns of regulators over whether AT&T would ensure that personal information of its phone customers would be safeguarded and whether CNN would continue to enjoy editorial independence.
This comes in the wake of frequent criticisms of CNN by President Donald Trump over how he has been covered by the news provider. And during the U.S. presidential election campaigns, Trump vowed that he would block the merger. Sources however say Trump is unlikely to oppose the deal.