AT&T senior executive VP and chief content officer Dan York will be leaving the company effective March 1, the telecom giant confirmed Thursday.
York, an industry veteran, had been DirecTV’s chief programming executive since 2012, and continued in that role when AT&T purchased the satellite TV giant in 2015. York has been a key figure in AT&T’s programming negotiations and has a long history in the television distribution business, beginning in 1987 as a VP and general manager at HBO/Time Warner Sports.
News of York’s impending departure was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
AT&T spokesman Jim Greer confirmed in an email message that York is leaving the company on March 1.
In addition to serving as the point man in programming negotiations, York also was responsible for The Audience Network, the DirecTV original content vehicle that will be transitioned into a marketing vehicle for AT&T’s HBO Max streaming service.
York had been president of content and advertising sales at AT&T from 2004 to 2012 when he moved to DirecTV. Prior to that stint, he was senior VP of programming and development at InDemand from 2000 to 2004.
“We appreciate Dan’s many years of service,” AT&T consumer CEO Thaddeus Arroyo said in a statement to the LA Times. “His contributions significantly shaped our content strategies and we are grateful for his leadership and commitment to providing our customers with their favorite live sports and entertainment.”
York has a reputation as a savvy programming negotiator, but DirecTV has shed about 4 million subscribers in the past two years as consumers have shifted toward streaming services. AT&T is expected to launch its latest streaming product, AT&T TV, later this year.
York was singled out in a 2016 lawsuit filed by the federal government that accused DirecTV of colluding with other programmers to block carriage of SportsNet LA, the regional sports network that carries Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games. That suit was settled in 2017.
York is expected to be replaced by senior VP content & programming Rob Thun. Thun, like York, moved over to AT&T from DirecTV, which he joined in 2013 from Univision Communications. Before Univision, Thun spent seven years at AT&T and was part of the team that launched its U-Verse product. Prior to AT&T, Thun worked for Fox Cable Networks for seven years, serving as VP of national accounts, sales strategy and business development.