AT&T Finance Chief John Stephens to Step Down

AT&T’s John Stephens and Warner Media’s Pascal Desroches
Presley Ann/Getty Images; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

WarnerMedia CFO Pascal Desroches will succeed Stephens as chief financial officer at the telecom and media giant.

AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens is set to retire in March 2021 after 28 years with the telecom and media giant.

WarnerMedia CFO Pascal Desroches has been tapped to succeed Stephens, effective April 1, 2021, and until then will serve as AT&T’s senior executive vp of finance. “I greatly appreciate John’s outstanding leadership, tireless dedication and many significant contributions to AT&T over the years,” John Stankey, AT&T CEO, said in a statement.

Stephens, who became CFO at AT&T in 2011, more recently has worked to reduce the company's debt load and boost its liquidity amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. WarnerMedia is also focusing more on streaming via its HBO Max platform.

His pending departure also follows Randall Stephenson, the teleco's longtime chairman and CEO, retiring earlier this year after 38 years with the company, which allowed Stankey to move from the leadership of WarnerMedia to take the top AT&T post.

“Pascal is an impressive financial executive whose strategic thinking and leadership I’ve seen first-hand at WarnerMedia. His deep and broad experience spans media and telecom, as well as corporate finance, public accounting and regulatory compliance,” Stankey added about the promotion for Desroches.

Prior to serving as CFO at WarnerMedia, Desroches was CFO at Turner and global controller at Time Warner, which AT&T acquired for $85 billion in 2018 as part of its entertainment diversification.

That deal handed AT&T control over a host of content production and distribution arms that have been leveraged for the launch of HBO Max as WarnerMedia drives into the streaming space.