AT&T CEO Exits Boeing, Emerson Boards Ahead of Government Fight
(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc.’s chief executive officer stepped down from the boards of Boeing Co. and Emerson Electric Co. to shield both companies from any fallout as he battles the U.S. government to win approval for the takeover of Time Warner Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.
CEO Randall Stephenson, 57, thought it wise to sever ties with the companies, both federal contractors, so they wouldn’t face any repercussions, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Both companies announced his departure in separate filings Friday, saying he told them he needed to focus on the pending litigation over the Time Warner transaction.
AT&T is preparing for a court fight with the U.S. Justice Department, which sued to block the $85.4 billion Time Warner deal to protect competition in the television industry.
“The coming year will be an extremely busy one for Randall, as we work to litigate our Time Warner deal,” AT&T said. “Because of this and the time required to effectively serve on the Emerson and Boeing Boards, he felt it was best to resign.”
Stephenson had served on the board of Emerson for 11 years and became lead director last year. He joined Boeing’s board in February 2016. He’s not a director for any other public companies except Dallas-based AT&T, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Stephenson remains on the board of the Boy Scouts of America and on the PGA Tour policy board, which directs business strategy for the professional golf league.
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