Jeff McElfresh named CEO of AT&T Communications

McElfresh has been with AT&T for nearly 25 years, most recently as president of AT&T Communication’s Technology and Operations Group, which houses the company’s 5G build-out initiative. (AT&T)

AT&T revealed company veteran Jeff McElfresh will be the new CEO of the carrier’s AT&T Communications unit.

McElfresh will start his role as head of AT&T’s largest division effective Oct. 1, replacing John Donovan who last week announced his plans for retirement after 12 years with the company.

McElfresh will report John Stankey, who AT&T today named as the company’s president and chief operating officer, also effective Oct. 1. Stankey will continue to head up the WarnerMedia unit.

RELATED: AT&T's Donovan sets a date for retirement

McElfresh has been with AT&T for nearly 25 years. Most recently, in 2018 he was appointed to president of AT&T Communication’s Technology and Operations Group, which houses the company’s 5G build-out initiatives, as well as AT&T’s Intellectual Property group, Labs and Foundries. In that role, McElfresh oversaw AT&T’s shift to software-defined networking and virtualization efforts. McElfresh was also responsible for the company’s cybersecurity, data, and lab operations.

While at AT&T McElfresh also served as CEO of AT&T’s Vrio (a holding company for AT&T’s Latin American digital entertainment units, DirecTV Latin America and Sky Brasil). Before AT&T acquired DirecTV, McElfresh was president of AT&T Mexico and member of the board of directors and executive committee of Telmex and América Móvil.

He’s also held VP roles in AT&T’s startup Emerging Devices Group and AT&T Mobility.

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

“I’m excited to have Jeff leading our communications business into the future. He is an accomplished leader with experience across our business — from strategy, technology and network, to marketing, operations and customer experience,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement. “This past year, Jeff led the team that won AT&T recognition for having the best, fastest and most reliable wireless network in the country.”

This year AT&T gained recognition for network improvements as the carrier pushes ahead with a “one touch” network build strategy. AT&T secured the FirstNet public safety contract, and has been simultaneously adding capacity and upgrading cell sites with 4G LTE-A technologies and 5G-capable equipment while also building out its dedicated first responder network. The company has said on average it’s adding 60 MHz of new spectrum at upgraded sites.  

These enhancements have resulted in significant performance improvements for AT&T’s network according to third-party tests, including those by Ookla and Opensignal.