AT&T has announced today that its CEO Randall Stephenson will be stepping down at the end of Q2 with COO John Stankey to fill the role. The wireless executive shakeup comes a bit earlier than expected based on Stephenson’s previous comments.

CNBC highlights that after seeing pressure from an activist fund last year for Stephenson to step down, he said back in February that he’d remain in the CEO position through this year. Today AT&T confirmed that those plans have changed as Stankey will take over and lead AT&T starting on July 1st. Stephenson will stay on as executive chairman of the board until January 2021.

Elliott Management, the activist investment firm that pushed for executive changes at AT&T said it “supports” Stankey as the company’s next CEO.

Stephenson shared a statement on the change:

I congratulate John, and I look forward to partnering with him as the leadership team moves forward on our strategic initiatives while navigating the difficult economic and health challenges currently facing our country and the world. John has the right experiences and skills, and the unflinching determination every CEO needs to act on his convictions. He has a terrific leadership team onboard to ensure AT&T remains strong and continues to deliver for customers and shareholders for years to come.

Stankey had this to say:

“I’m honored to be elected the next CEO of AT&T, a company with a rich history and a bright future,” said Stankey. “My thanks go to Randall for his vision and outstanding leadership during a period of tremendous change and investment in the core capabilities needed to position AT&T well for the years ahead. And I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me leading the company during our next chapter of growth and innovation in keeping people connected, informed and entertained. We have a strong company, leading brands and a great employee team, which I’m privileged to lead. I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities we have to serve our customers and communities and create value for our shareholders.”

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