April 27, 2007 9:14 AM PDT

AT&T CEO Whitacre announces retirement

AT&T CEO and Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr. has announced his retirement after 43 years at the company.

In a statement Friday, the company confirmed that the 65-year-old Whitacre would leave, effective June 3. He is currently the longest-serving CEO in the telecommunications industry, according to AT&T. A March 2007 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that he also serves as a director on the boards of Anheuser-Busch Companies and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

Edward E. Whitacre Jr. Edward E. Whitacre Jr.

Whitacre has been a director at the San Antonio, Texas-based AT&T since October 1986 and has served as CEO since January 1990 when the company was still Southwestern Bell, one of the Baby Bells that had formed when the former AT&T was broken up in 1984. In December, the Federal Communications Commission approved an $86 billion merger between AT&T and BellSouth, giving the "new AT&T" control of more than half the telephone and Internet connections in the United States.

Whitacre will be replaced by Randall Stephenson, who currently serves as AT&T's chief operating officer.

"I have had the extraordinary privilege to lead this company for 17 years, and I leave with complete confidence in the future of our great company," Whitacre is quoted as saying in AT&T's release. "Randall Stephenson is an exceptional leader. He has a deep understanding of this business and a clear sense of where it should go."

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Ding dong, the witch is dead
Good riddence. Lets hope that the next CEO is younger and "gets it".
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
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Gets what?
I'm an at&t employee. The stock is way up. Profit is way up. My
401k is way up. The company is proceeding full steam ahead with
the u-verse project. Life looks very good from where I'm standing.

Thanks for memories, Ed. (And the money in my paycheck)
Posted by lkrupp (1608 comments )
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Must be nice.
It's nice that your stock is up. Meanwhile, AT&T's anti-competitive, anti-consumer BS continues. My favorite SBC story is the one where I lived in Lake County, Ohio, and a tech accidentally created a loop on my phone line. It generated so much noise that not only could I not use the DSL, I couldn't make voice calls. For two months. While SBC screwed around trying to avoid sending a tech to my house.

Then they wanted to tell me that they could only credit me $5 and attempted to collect on my two months (almost $200) of dialtone and DSL charges even after I disputed the bill, which is in direct violation of federal debt-collection regulations. (You're not allowed to collect on an amount in dispute.)

Fortunately, the Ohio PUC has a department set up solely to deal with SBC/at&t complaints (what does that tell you?!) and they were able to get SBC to credit the money they had no business billing me in the first place.

I'm glad that you're doing well as an at&t employee, but if you ignore *why* at&t, Verizon and the other big Local Exchange Carriers are where they are, you're either ignorant or intentionally avoiding talking about the stunts that they pull -- and I don't know you, but I'm quite willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that ignorance is not the problem here.

I order DSL for some of the clients at my day job, and avoid the ILECs because I've had problems with them here and in my personal life, but they make it extremely difficult for their competitors to place orders. I've experienced this first-hand. They want to keep milking their decades-old copper plant, squeezing every last dime out of it without upgrading it. They want to shut out competitors wherever possible, but they want their competitors to be forced to open their networks. Etc., etc.

Ed Whitacre is no better than Richard Notbaert before him, or any of the ILEC executives. I have zero problems with telcos making money. That's why you go into business in the first place. I only have problems with the ILECs acting like they deserve to be monopolies.
Posted by sjsobol (115 comments )
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No problem with that general concept
The problem isn't with at&t wanting to make money. That's as it should be. In fact, they have a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits.

It's the way they do it that is a problem.
Posted by sjsobol (115 comments )
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