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.
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.
“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.