AT&T realigns public-sector executive roles in wake of front-office departures

AT&T has seen two key public-sector executives leave in recent weeks

AT&T shuffled its public-sector front office—again--as it continued to hone its focus on initiatives such as defense and FirstNet.

The carrier named Mike Leff to the role of vice president of defense, moving him from vice president of strategy and operations. Chris Smith, who had been vice president of technology, will now serve as vice president of strategy, operations and technology.

Leff boasts more than two decades of experience in the public-sector marketplace, AT&T said, and has led teams developing technology and communications offerings for defense and civilian government agencies. Smith formerly led technology for AT&T’s Public Sector business and has held CIO positions with federal agencies.

The executives will report to Xavier Williams, president of AT&T Public Sector and Wholesale Solutions division. “Mike and Chris are proven leaders with the ability to help public sector customers use our innovative technologies and services strategically,” Williams said in a press release.

Like some of its rival carriers, AT&T is moving aggressively to grow its public-sector businesses in the United States. The carrier was one of three service providers to secure a $200 million contract with the U.S. Navy earlier this week—Verizon and T-Mobile were the others—and earlier this year it won the right to build the nation’s first dedicated wireless network for first responders under the FirstNet contract.

AT&T’s public-sector business has undergone some turmoil recently, however. Reports surfaced last month that Kay Kapoor had stepped down as head of the carrier’s Global Public Sector just six months after taking the helm, paving the way for Williams to take over the $15 billion business unit. And just last week Anthony Robbins resigned as leader of the carrier’s federal business, departing after 18 months to serve vice president of Nvidia’s North American public-sector business.

This report was updated Nov. 2 to clarify the new titles and roles of Leff and Smith.