AT&T’s Keathley quietly retires after 30-year career


AT&T has named Marachel Knight as senior vice president of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T after longtime executive Tom Keathley retired from the role in March.

Marachel Knight
Marachel Knight

Knight now oversees the architecture and design of the AT&T wireless network, wireline access, mobility services, wireless device technology and tools, the company confirmed to FierceWirelessTech.

Keathley, who was just re-elected as 2017 chairman of the 5G Americas trade association in December, has been a prominent figure in the wireless industry, speaking on behalf of AT&T at trade shows and conferences, including about its work on 5G. He has more than 30 years of experience in the telecom industry and served in a number of leadership roles at AT&T, Cingular, Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems, Cellular One and Southwestern Bell Telephone.

Vicki Livingston, head of communications and analyst relations for 5G Americas, said the association will name a new chairman who will head its Board of Governors. The name of the new chairman wasn't immediately available as an announcement is forthcoming.

Keathley was one of the successful proponents for speeding up the 5G standards work at the 3GPP so that the standard will become available at the end of 2017 rather than in the middle of 2018, as was previously scheduled. That means AT&T will be able to launch standards-based mobile 5G services starting as early as late 2018.

Knight previously served as vice president of AT&T's Advanced Technology and Planning, where her responsibilities included driving the execution of planning, architecture, design, development and deployment of advanced network technologies. That included initiatives such as 5G Evolution, Project AirGig and software-defined networking across AT&T.

She also holds two patents: Systems for Use with Multi-Number Cellular Devices and Messaging Forwarding System.

Last fall, longtime AT&T executive Bill Smith retired as president of technology operations. He was replaced by Bill Hogg, who is now president of technology and operations at AT&T.