AT&T Corp. installed a cable veteran as the new head of
its key telephony deployment, while rumors swirled that cable and direct-broadcast
satellite veteran Carl Vogel might soon join him at the company.
Last week, AT&T Broadband & Internet Services named
former Teleport Communications Group executive Curt Hockemeier as executive vice president
and chief operating officer of telephony operations.
Hockemeier, also a former Cox Communications Inc.
executive, replaces AT&T veteran Gerald DeFrancisco, who held the job for only a few
AT&T said DeFrancisco -- who used to run the company's
Alaska telecommunications subsidiary -- left for personal reasons, and he would transfer
to a yet-undetermined position at its Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Consumer Services unit.
Sources said DeFrancisco, who has teen-age daughters,
decided for family reasons not to relocate from New Jersey to Denver.
Hockemeier brings a hefty telecommunications resume to the
position, where he will oversee the deployment and management of all AT&T Broadband
cable-telephony operations -- a cornerstone of the company's plans to compete in the local
He will oversee affiliate relationships that AT&T
develops with other carriers in order to offer local service in some markets, and he
reports directly to AT&T Broadband president Leo Hindery.
"Curt's leadership brings together a wealth of
cable-operations expertise and telephony knowledge, and his team will be leading the
charge toward local telephone operations for AT&T [Broadband]," Hindery said in a
Separately, sources said, AT&T had been talking with
Vogel about bringing him on board as head of broadband-data operations, also reporting to
Vogel, a longtime DBS-industry executive, most recently was
chairman and CEO of PrimeStar Inc., which closed its sale to rival DirecTV Inc. in April
for $1.82 billion.
A former Jones Intercable Inc. executive, Vogel also served
as CEO of Star Choice Communications Inc., a Canadian DBS provider. And until March 1997,
he had served as president of EchoStar Communications Corp. during that DBS company's
often-rocky start-up years.
While at EchoStar, he was instrumental in cutting the 1997
deal for a virtual merger with News Corp. -- an alliance that later collapsed.
AT&T would not comment on whether it was talking to