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AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson played down the recent departure of executives from Time Warner, which the company acquired last year and used to build its new WarnerMedia unit.

Why it matters: Stephenson’s bet that the telecom company can use original content to compete with Amazon and Netflix depends on its ability to integrate the Time Warner properties into its business.

Background: Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes departed the company when the deal closed.

  • HBO chief Richard Plepler and Turner president David Levy both left recently after it became clear they’d lose power in the consolidated company.
  • And Kevin Tsujihara stepped down this week as the head of the Warner Bros. movie studio after allegations he worked to set up job opportunities for an actress with whom he was in a sexual relationship.

What he’s saying: “Does it worry me? Yeah, of course you worry,” Stephenson said during an event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “But other than the head of Warner Bros. studios ... the rest of them were not surprises.”

  • He said that Plepler “did an amazing job growing HBO to where it is today, but where the world is going is a very different place.”
  • He said the company would focus on diversity in hiring executives in the future.

Stephenson also weighed in on the debate over shunning Huawei networking technology on national security grounds.

  • “I don’t think our government is doing their best work in explaining why this security risk exists,” he said.
  • He said he was less worried about the Chinese government eavesdropping than about a foreign company being enmeshed with connected infrastructure down the road.
  • “We have to ask ourselves a question: If that much of our infrastructure will be attached to this kind of technology, do we want to be cautious about who is the underlying company behind that technology?” he said. “We damn well better be.”

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1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden starts negotiating to raise capital gains tax rate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden wants to nearly double the capital gains tax paid by wealthy Americans, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg and confirmed by Axios.

Counterintuitive: Biden's plan is better for private fund managers (hedge, PE, VC, etc.) than what he proposed during the campaign.

Scoop: Caitlyn Jenner makes it official for California governor

Caitlyn Jenner. Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to run for governor of California and will officially announce her bid later today, her campaign tells Axios.

The big picture: Jenner, a longtime Republican, is seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, hoping her celebrity status and name recognition can yield an upset in the nation's most populous state.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

New laws, new rules bring big changes to college sports

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The college sports landscape could change more in the next six months than it has in the last 50 years, as the NCAA grapples with new competition, new laws and new rules.

How it works... 1. Startup leagues: Investors are flocking to new leagues that aim to compete with the NCAA, evidence of just how much opposition there is to the amateurism model — and how much belief there is in new ones.