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John Stankey. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York

John Stankey will become CEO of AT&T when current CEO Randall Stephenson retires on July 1st, the company announced Friday at its annual shareholder meeting.

Why it matters: Stankey is currently AT&T's COO, and a bitter shareholder battle last year threatened his shot at the top job.

  • AT&T eventually struck a deal with that activist shareholder, hedge fund Elliott Management, and Elliott now says it "supports" Stankey now as the company's next CEO, per CNBC.

In a statement, AT&T says that Stankey's selection "completes the final phase of a succession planning process that AT&T's board began in 2017, which included a thorough evaluation of internal and external candidates."

  • The company says that its human resources committee recently engaged in an extensive five-month search process.

The big picture: Stankey is a 30+-year AT&T veteran. He helped lead the company through its successful acquisition of Time Warner, and eventually became the CEO of the company under its new monicker, WarnerMedia. AT&T named former Hulu exec Jason Kilar the CEO of WarnerMedia two weeks ago, foreshadowing a change.

  • Stankey had previously run AT&T's entertainment group, and served as the CEO of AT&T Operations and Business Solutions.

Between the lines: Stephenson's succession plan, which the company says has been in place since 2017, was unclear given the pressure from Elliott to bring in a CEO with media experience, not just telecom experience.

  • AT&T bought Time Warner in 2018 for $85 billion. Elliott had been critical of AT&T's acquisition of the media company, and some of its other major acquisitions, like DirecTV.
  • Stephenson said earlier this year he would remain with the company through at least the end of 2020. In the announcement Friday, the company said he would remain executive chairman of the board until January 2021.

Go deeper: AT&T signals ceasefire with activist investor

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
12 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.