Randall Stephenson
George Chinsee/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock
United States
2018

AT&T

Randall
Stephenson

Chairman / CEO

Stephenson’s determination to expand the onetime telecom into a global media and entertainment player was tested by the government’s opposition to its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner. He was the face of the company’s defense of the deal, which brought HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner together with AT&T’s wireless platform and DirecTV. His refusal to divest DirecTV or Turner to secure federal approval of the transaction led the Justice Department to sue to block the purchase. A seven-week trial ended with a resounding victory for AT&T, although the government has appealed. A tenacious problem solver, Stephenson joined AT&T predecessor Southwestern Bell in his native Oklahoma City in 1982 then moved into finance and operations. He has been CEO since 2007.

Career

  • WarnerMedia
  • DirecTV
  • AT&T

Education

  • University of Oklahoma (OK, USA)
  • University of Central Oklahoma (OK, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
  • Dealmaker's Impact
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News from Variety

AT&T's Randall Stephenson: Premium Content, Advanced Advertising Key to Making Time Warner Merger Work

AT&T's Randall Stephenson: Premium Content, Advanced Advertising Key to Making Time Warner Merger Work

AT&T will invest deeply in premium content, advanced advertising technology and expanding its high-speed data customer base in order to make the Time Warner merger a success for the telco giant.Speaking Thursday at a Wells Fargo Securities conference in New York, AT&T chairman-CEO Randall Stephenson and CFO John Stephens painted a sunny picture of the company's prospects now that it has finally closed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner after prevailing last week in a federal anti-trust trial.Stephenson noted...

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Q&A

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

“Don’t just perform the duties of each job or position. Take apart every job or position you are given. Put it back together so that it’s better than you found it when you are ready to move on to your next assignment.”

What or who inspires you?

“I’m inspired by true leaders. These are the exceptional few willing to risk personal failure to drive not just incremental but step-change improvements. They’re remarkably inquisitive and open to new ideas. And they’re able to get others to go places they wouldn’t go on their own. In the end, leaders make tough decisions that might be unpopular in the short term but are the best for their business and customers in the long run.”

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