President Donald Trump took time out of his day to tweet an attack on the retiring AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.
He suggested the door should not hit him on the way out.
The Trump Justice Department attempted to block the merger of AT&T and CNN owner Time Warner and the President has targeted CNN for his mainstream media tweet scorn arguably more than any other news network. He also verbally excoriated a CNN reporter and attacked the network after she persistently asked him a question he did not want to respond to.
The union representing AT&T workers, which, like President Trump, has not always agreed with the company, had a much different take on Stephenson's leadership, highlighting the importance of respectful disagreement and praising CNN.
"Over the years, I have worked closely with Randall Stephenson on behalf of the 100,000 AT&T employees that CWA represents," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "While we have not always agreed, he understands the importance of union representation and has respected the collective bargaining process.
"The global crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the value of having an established, respectful labor-management relationship. I have no doubt that Randall Stephenson puts the safety of his employees above all else, and we were able to quickly agree on policies to protect workers and provide enhanced paid leave during this crisis. I also appreciate his commitment to a free press, as demonstrated by the continued independence of CNN under AT&T’s ownership.
"Stephenson’s recent decision to suspend AT&T’s stock buyback program shows his dedication to the long-term health of the company.... John Stankey is an eminently qualified successor."
“When the story of 21st century communications is one day written, Randall Stephenson’s leadership of AT&T will deserve its own chapter," said USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter, who definitely had a different view of the longtime executive, whose company is a USTelecom charter member. "His bold vision for the future of telecom, broadband, entertainment and mobile technology has shaped the way millions around the world live, work and play. The company is in great hands and slated for another generation of innovation under John Stankey. Thank you Randall for your game-changing contributions to the world of connectivity, and to our nation.”