AT&T Ousts Broadband Boss

24 October 2001

Responding to waves of criticism at the way in which the AT&T Broadband division has been managed, parent company AT&T on Tuesday ousted the executive who ran the business.

Exiting through the revolving door “by mutual agreement” is Broadband president and former AT&T chief financial officer Dan Somers, as three new eager beavers enter from the other side.

He is directly replaced by William Schleyer (50), a former president and chief operating officer of AT&T-owned MediaOne, more recently earning his daily dollar as a venture capitalist. He is flanked by two other MediaOne executives, Ron Cooper and David Fellows, respectively appointed to the new positions of chief operating officer and chief technology officer.

According to AT&T the upheaval signifies a new phase in the development of the broadband division which recently completed its integration with MediaOne, acquired by AT&T in 1999.

During the integration, overseen by Somers, which created the largest cable operation in the US, the unit generated the lowest profit margins in the sector – a consequence, insists AT&T, of the melding of the two companies and the upgrading of their cable systems. A marked improvement in performance is expected now integration is complete.

Some observers of the upheaval detect the string-pulling hand of cable industry veteran and AT&T board member Amos Hostetter, the former boss of Continental Cablevision, where the three incomers once worked prior to its takeover by MediaOne and the subsequent ingestion by AT&T.

News source: Financial Times