AT&T's Donovan sets a date for retirement

AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan is stepping down effective October 1 after close to 12 years with the telco.

Donovan was instrumental in AT&T's Domain 2.0 effort, which set AT&T on a pathway to have 75% of its core network virtualized by 2020 using network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).

During Donovan's tenure, AT&T developed an orchestration and automation platform called ECOMP with more than 8 million lines of software code. ECOMP was subsequently put in the Linux Foundation as part of its Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP.)

Also during Donovan's stint at AT&T, the telco developed its dNOS software framework. Last year the Linux Foundation announced the Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) project to enable community collaboration across network hardware, forwarding and operating system layers. DANOS is based on AT&T’s dNOS operating software.

RELATED: AT&T's Donovan says telco will take a more incremental approach to fiber builds

“JD is a terrific leader and a tech visionary who helped drive AT&T’s leadership in connecting customers, from our 5G, fiber and FirstNet buildouts, to new products and platforms, to setting the global standard for software-defined networks,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “He led the way in encouraging his team to continuously innovate and develop their skill sets for the future. We greatly appreciate his many contributions to our company’s success and his untiring dedication to serving customers and making our communities better. JD is a good friend, and I wish him and his family all the best in the years ahead.”

“It’s been my honor to lead AT&T Communications during a period of unprecedented innovation and investment in new technology that is revolutionizing how people connect with their worlds,” said Donovan. “All that we’ve accomplished is a credit to the talented women and men of AT&T and their passion for serving our customers. I’m looking forward to the future – spending more time with my family and watching with pride as the AT&T team continues to set the pace for the industry.”

Donovan joined AT&T in 2008 as chief technology officer, overseeing the company’s global technology direction and innovation road map. He was then promoted to AT&T’s chief strategy officer and group president—AT&T Technology and Operations, before being named CEO of AT&T Communications in July 2017.

AT&T said it will name a replacement for Donovan soon.