AT&T is reshuffling the responsibilities of four top executives, naming John Stankey as its chief strategy officer and putting the head of its wireless business in charge of expanding smartphone sales.
Changes may be afoot at the country's second-largest wireless operator, which hinted during its earnings call last week that it might divest its directories business and is rumored to be considering a bid for Dish Network's satellite spectrum. AT&T needs to find a source of new airwaves after it was forced to abandon its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
Stankey formerly headed AT&T's Business Solutions division. In his new post, he will "maximize AT&T's future growth opportunities," handling corporate development, long-term spectrum needs, funding and the "best strategic paths" for the company's less lucrative units.
Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T's high-growth wireless arm, will keep his post, but has been instructed to focus on expanding AT&T's smartphone business.
Smartphones have been a key driver of growth for AT&T, generating 1.9 times higher ARPU than non-smartphone customers and reducing customer churn. The company sold 9.4 million smartphones during the fourth quarter and activated 7.6 million iPhones, more than the 4.3 million iPhones sold by Verizon Wireless during the same period.
John Donovan, chief technology officer, was named senior executive vice president of AT&T's technology and network operations. Donovan is in charge of the operator's technology and network operations, including its U.S. mobile broadband network.
Andy Geisse formerly served as executive vice president of AT&T's worldwide customer service operations for large corporations and small- and medium-sized businesses. He is now vice president of AT&T's business and home solutions unit, which handles its U-verse service, 22-state wireline operations, global enterprise customers and small businesses.
The executives will all report to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, who has held his position since 2007.