Jeff McElfresh takes over AT&T’s 5G build-out

AT&T's Jeff McElfresh, left, takes over from Melissa Arnoldi, right. (AT&T)

AT&T confirmed that Jeff McElfresh will take over command of AT&T’s Technology and Operations division. He takes over from Melissa Arnoldi, who will move over to head up AT&T’s Vrio subsidiary in Latin America, which sells DirecTV services to South American countries.

McElfresh is a 21-year veteran of AT&T and most recently served as the head of AT&T’s Vrio business. Thus, he essentially switched roles with Melissa Arnoldi within AT&T. The carrier noted that the change-up is more of a lateral change and is not necessarily a promotion or demotion for either executive. Both executives will remain based in Dallas. 

AT&T’s Technology and Operations division houses the company's AT&T Labs unit, as well as it's 5G build-out efforts. Despite the change in leadership in AT&T Technology and Operations, most of the rest of the unit remains unchanged. Andre Fuetsch continues to run AT&T Labs, Marachel Knight continues to lead the company's physical 5G build-out efforts and Gordon Mansfield continues to act as the carrier’s VP of RAN and device design.


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AT&T has promised to launch mobile 5G services in a dozen cities by the end of this year. 

Importantly, McElfresh also overseas AT&T's move to software-defined networking. The operator has said that it plans to virtualize fully 75% of its network operations by 2020. 

AT&T said McElfresh "oversees the company’s global information, software development, network and cybersecurity operations, and chief data office organizations, as well as AT&T’s Intellectual Property group, Labs and Foundries."

The changes follow the close of the operator’s acquisition of Time Warner. That transaction dramatically changed the management structure of AT&T. Following the close of AT&T’s purchase, the carrier broke out its business into four different divisions all overseen by Randall Stephenson. The operator’s four divisions are:

  • Advertising & Analytics: Brian Lesser, CEO

  • Communications: John Donovan, CEO

  • Media: John Stankey, CEO

  • International: Lori Lee, CEO

John Donovan oversees AT&T’s Technology and Operations division. John Donovan's direct reports include:

  • Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Business

  • Bruce Byrd, chief legal officer

  • Fiona Carter, chief brand officer

  • David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility & Entertainment Group

  • Daniel Fete, chief financial officer

  • Susan Johnson, executive vice president of Global Connections and Supply Chain

  • Joan Marsh, chief regulatory and state external affairs officer

  • Jeff McElfresh, president of AT&T Technology & Operations

  • Rasesh Patel, senior executive vice president for Digital, Retail & Care

  • Scott Smith, chief human resources officer

  • Daniel York, senior executive vice president and chief content officer

Arnoldi’s move was first reported by Light Reading.