tapped industry veteran William J. Hannigan as its new president Tuesday and cut loose the incumbent, Betsy Bernard, one of the most powerful female executives in the country.
Hannigan simultaneously resigned as chief executive of
, a post he took in late 1999. Before that he held senior positions at
At Saber, the holding company for online plane reservations system Travelocity, Hannigan is being replaced by Michael S. Gilliland. Gilliland had been CEO of Travelocity, a post that will be filled by Michelle Peluso, its chief operating officer.
AT&T said Bernard was leaving to pursue other opportunities. The resignation ends a storied career at AT&T for the 48-year-old, who came to the company in 1976, took five years off in the late 1990s, and was then brought back in to run the star-crossed consumer services division in 2001.
Bernard was elevated to president by CEO David Dorman, becoming the first woman to hold the position. In that post she oversaw the company's Business unit, a division that does about $27 billion a year in revenue.
"We deeply appreciate all that Betsy has done since rejoining AT&T nearly three years ago," the company said in announcing her departure. "Her dedication and commitment to serving customers have helped strengthen the foundation of AT&T Consumer and AT&T Business where we have improved customer service, dramatically reduced our costs and gained share in critical market segments."
AT&T closed Monday at $20.35, well off its 52-week high of $28.88.