AT&T (NYSE:T) is promoting from within its own ranks to fill an important C-suite position. The telecom giant announced Tuesday that its CFO John Stephens is retiring, effective at the end of this coming March. His replacement will be Pascal Desroches, the current CFO of the sprawling company's key WarnerMedia subsidiary. His tenure begins on April 1.
Stephens is a 28-year veteran of the company; he was appointed its CFO in 2011. His departure will come less than one year after his former boss, Randall Stephenson, vacated his position as CEO. The announcement also closely follows the news that Stephenson is vacating his post as chairman of the company's board. He is being replaced by William Kennard, who begins his term in January.
Incoming CFO Desroches has experience in both the corporate and public sectors. Previous to his time as WarnerMedia CFO, he served in the same position for the related media business, Turner, and was global controller at Time Warner. He also was a partner at global accounting firm KPMG, and worked as a senior advisor to the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In the press release formally announcing the change, AT&T quoted CEO John Stankey as saying of Desroches that "His deep and broad experience spans media and telecom, as well as corporate finance, public accounting and regulatory compliance."
AT&T currently faces a host of challenges, so Desroches' job will not be easy. The company has to compete with determined and well-capitalized rivals in its telecom business while keeping pace with the latest technological advances in the industry -- notably 5G. Its media arm also operates in a highly competitive, fast-developing environment.
In late afternoon trading on Tuesday, AT&T's shares were essentially trading flat.