WarnerMedia CEO Stankey becomes AT&T COO

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is adding a new title to his business card after AT&T announced it’s promoting him to president chief operating officer effective Oct. 1.

Stankey will continue to serve as WarnerMedia chief, and will report to CEO Randall Stephenson. Stankey’s direct reports will including Xandr CEO Brian Lesser and Jeff McElfresh, who is taking over as CEO of AT&T Communications after John Donovan retires early next month.

Stephenson said the executive role changes are meant to “more tightly align” AT&T’s portfolio of communications and media businesses.

“It’s the natural next step in bringing together the distinct and complimentary capabilities of AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia and Xandr to deliver for consumers the benefits of a modern media company. AT&T is alone in the industry in being able to bring together these three great businesses for the launch of innovative consumer offers, relevant advertising and new entertainment services like HBO Max,” said Stephenson in a statement.

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Stankey’s promotion comes as WarnerMedia is preparing for the high-profile launch of HBO Max. The service is scheduled to launch commercially in spring of 2020, and is anticipated to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content. AT&T has not yet revealed pricing for the service.

HBO Max will include HBO content alongside originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes.

“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is ‘Friends,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, in a statement.