AT&T is embarking on a major reorganization that would separate its telecom business from media business as it seeks to close its proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. The reorg, which was first reported by Bloomberg, will put Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan, who has been a major proponent of the company’s network virtualization initiative, over the company’s telecom operations and DirecTV business out of AT&T’s Dallas headquarters. John Stankey, who currently oversees DirecTV, will be in charge of the media group that will include the Time Warner business. Stankey will run that group out of his Los Angeles offices.
AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, will keep his CEO title and remain at the head of the firm. “I will not be changing my title,” Stephenson told CNBC today. “I’ll still be CEO.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is still finalizing the details of the reorganization. However, Bloomberg reported that Glenn Lurie, who oversees the company’s wireless business will be moving to Dallas. SDxCentral is aware of other AT&T executives who are also migrating from Atlanta to Dallas.
Donovan, who joined AT&T in 2008, was a proponent of software-defined networking (SDN) when it was still considered a fairly radical concept to many telcos. Since 2008 he has been working diligently to change not just AT&T’s network but also its internal policies and philosophies.
“He first joined AT&T as CTO, and he made some bold moves,” said Bill Ho, an analyst with 556 Ventures. “What he did for the organization really has driven costs down and made the company more progressive,” he added.
Analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics, agreed. “Donovan is a visionary,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Donovan.”
Donovan was responsible for introducing the company’s Domain 2.0 initiative, which is AT&T’s effort to broaden beyond just is existing suppliers and take advantage of startups and open source technologies. He also championed AT&T’s ECOMP virtualization framework that was open sourced through the Linux Foundation. ECOMP has since merged with Open-O to become ONAP.