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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

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

15 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

15 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."