Former FCC chief William Kennard has been named chairman of AT&T’s board of directors.
Kennard has been a member of AT&T’s board of directors since 2014. The telco giant vowed to separate the chairman and CEO posts following the retirement in January of Randall Stephenson, who previously was chairman-CEO.
Last July, Stephenson handed the CEO reins to his longtime lieutenant John Stankey. Stephenson is scheduled to step down from his executive chairman role early next year. AT&T’s portfolio was transformed during Stephenson’s tenure by the acquisitions of DirecTV and Time Warner. Corporate governance watchdogs have pushed hard for companies to separate the chairman and CEO roles in an effort to foster more independent oversight from boards.
“Bill’s deep knowledge of communications, media and technology, proven leadership and broad experience across capital markets and government uniquely positions him to serve as AT&T’s new chairman,” Stephenson said. “He is an outstanding choice to lead our board of talented directors who possess diverse expertise and experience.”
Kennard served as head of the FCC during President Bill Clinton’s second term, from 1997 to 2001. Under the Obama administration, Kennard served as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. Kennard worked as general counsel to the FCC from 1993 until he was upped to chairman.
“It’s an honor to be selected to serve as chairman of AT&T’s board of directors,” Kennard said. “I look forward to working with our CEO and fellow board member John Stankey and the entire board to continue creating long-term value for all stakeholders – investors, customers, employees and the communities we serve.”
Kennard also serves on the boards of Duke Energy Corporation, Ford Motor Co. and MetLife. He is co-founder of private equity firm Astra Capital Management.