Weaver stepping down as head of AT&T comms amid rebranding

BEDMINSTER, NJ: In the midst of a global branding and marketing campaign, the head of AT&T's communications team has announced she is leaving by the end of the year.

BEDMINSTER, NJ: In the midst of a global branding and marketing campaign, the head of AT&T's communications team has announced she is leaving by the end of the year.

Connie Weaver, EVP of PR, marketing, and brand, said she recently sat down with AT&T CEO and chairman David Dorman, and discussed that, in light of major changes at AT&T, it was time for her to move on to other opportunities.

Those changes include moving the company away from marketing to traditional consumers, and toward branding AT&T as more of a technology company and less as a telephone company.

AT&T won't replace Weaver directly and, as such, will restructure its communications team.

Employee communications will now report to human resources and b-to-b PR to CMO Kathleen Flaherty.

The four VPs who oversee PR, including public policy, financial communications, corporate communications, consumer PR, and other PR elements, will now report to John Polumbo, president and CEO of consumer services.

Weaver said it would be a mistake to see this reorganization as a demotion of the communications function. If anything, it raises the value of PR by "bringing it closer to the business. It will be less product-focused, more market-driven. This is where communications now belongs."

In an e-mail to the communications team, Dorman said one of the challenges with Weaver's impending departure is developing a structure that will most effectively serve the communications and market needs of AT&T. The new structure places communications staff in direct support of AT&T's business strategy, he added.

"Two years ago, we began a journey in an industry fraught with change and turmoil," Weaver wrote in an e-mail to her team. "As you'll recall, we wanted to break down silos, become more externally focused, and go on offense to reposition the new AT&T. And the team did just that."

By focusing on b-to-b services, AT&T is crafting a new image as a technology leader and an innovator. The company's new tagline is "The World's Networking Company."

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