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AT&T CEO Whitacre will retire unexpectedly on June 3; COO Stephenson to take over

AT&T CEO Whitacre will retire unexpectedly on June 3; COO Stephenson to take over

Edward Whitacre Jr. , who led AT&T Inc.'s expansion into the largest telecommunications company in the nation, announced unexpectedly Friday that he will retire as chairman and chief executive in June.
Whitacre, 65, also announced at the company's annual meeting that the board has elected Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson, 47, to replace him on June 3.
Whitacre, an outspoken Texan known for blunt remarks on industry topics, worked for AT&T and its predecessor companies for 44 years.
In his 17 years at the helm, he presided over the company's growth from a regional telephone provider to the nation's largest provider of wireless, broadband and traditional phone service through an aggressive string of acquisitions, most recently the $86 billion (euro63.04 billion) purchase of BellSouth.
Whitacre's contract doesn't expire for another year, and it wasn't immediately clear what spurred his decision to step down now.
Though AT&T's stock rallied sharply last year, Whitacre has been criticized for his pay and retirement package. For 2006, he received compensation that the company valued at $31.77 million (euro23 million).
Whitacre stands poised to receive a total of $158.5 million (euro116 million), according to a calculation by The Corporate Library, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The company, formerly named Southwestern Bell and then SBC Communications, was actually the smallest of the seven "Baby Bells" spun off in 1984's government-ordered breakup of the national AT&T monopoly.
But under Whitacre, the company acquired three of its larger Bell siblings, as well as its former corporate parent, the AT&T long-distance business created in the breakup, renaming itself AT&T in the process.


Updated : 2021-10-18 05:12 GMT+08:00