Ms. Jennings will be succeeded by Cathy Coughlin, president of AT&T Midwest, a division headquartered in Chicago where she has been heading up efforts to gain government approvals for AT&T's U-Verse, a high-speed network that will compete with cable operators in providing broadband, entertainment and other services.
Wendy Clark, senior exec VP-advertising, continues to handle most of AT&T's marketing, with agencies reporting to her.
Ms. Jennings, a long-time employee of both the new AT&T and its predecessor companies, has reported directly to AT&T Chairman-CEO Ed Whitacre on marketing matters. She is retiring as scheduled, executives familiar with the situation said. Mr. Whitacre in April announced his retirement effective June 3. AT&T's chief operating officer, Randall L. Stephenson, will succeed Mr. Whitacre as chairman-CEO.
The changes at the nation's largest telecom dovetail with an industry-wide marketing shakeup at virtually every major carrier. Among those who recently left their posts are Marc Lefar, formerly CMO of Cingular Wireless and now AT&T Mobility; Sprint CMO Mark Schweitzer; and T-Mobile CMO Mike Butler. Additionally, John Stratton, formerly CMO, Verizon Wireless, was promoted to a newly created job at parent company Verizon Communications.
CMO successors have been named at all the telecoms except for T-Mobile, where duties are being handled by CEO Robert Dotson.
AT&T, with ad spending of more than $2 billion, has an extensive list of advertising shops, including GSD&M, Rodgers Townsend, BBDO, Dieste, Bravo, Javelin and Interbrand among brothers. In a recent interview, Ms. Clark said AT&T is still evaluating its post-merger agency lineup.