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AT&T reorganizes at the top

Company has carved the company into four segments to help align its wireline and wireless businesses.

AT&T is shuffling its top management team in an effort to tie its wireless and wireline businesses more tightly together.

Specifically, the company is divvying up its management organization into four major divisions: consumer, business, infrastructure, and diversified businesses. Previously, the company organized the company by customer segment and further delineated between wireless and wireline services.

"The management changes further align our employee teams, product offerings and resources around consumer and business customer segments, and integrate the management of our core infrastructure capabilities," the company said in an e-mail statement. "Our customers want a One AT&T experience and these changes help us do that for both consumers and businesses."

Here's a breakdown of who will be in charge of these four new divisions:

Ralph de la Vega, who had formerly been the head of AT&T's wireless division after the company acquired BellSouth and gained full control of Cingular Wireless, will now be the CEO of consumer markets for AT&T. He will be in charge of mobility as well as all consumer wireline services, including the new U-Verse TV offering and all of AT&T's consumer broadband products.

John Stankey, who previously headed up AT&T's consumer wireline business will be CEO of AT&T operations. His primarily responsibilities will center around AT&T's wireless and wireline networks including the infrastructure, network planning, and engineering. AT&T Labs, the company's research and development arm will also fall under Stankey's control.

Ron Spears, will continue to run AT&T's business group. But he is getting a new title and a few more responsibilities added to his watch. He will now be CEO of AT&T business solutions. And he will be in charge of all business services from large enterprises to small and medium businesses on a global basis. He will also handle all corporate wireless sales.

Ray Wilkins will get the new title of CEO of diversified businesses. His role will be relatively unchanged. He will continue to look after AT&T's online and paper yellow pages as well as the company's international investments among other things.

Each of these executives will report directly to Randall Stephenson, who remains chairman and CEO of AT&T.

The management shuffle will bring AT&T's wireless and wireline activities closer together, a goal that the company said it has been trying to achieve since it finalized the acquisition of BellSouth and got full control of Cingular Wireless. The company rebranded Cingular Wireless AT&T, but it has yet to tie its wireless services closely with its wireline business.

But tighter integration of wireless with wireline is on the strategic road map, the company has said. And it's already begun licensing content to appear not only on its U-Verse TV service but also on its wireless phones and PC screens providing customers with a "three screen" experience.

Verizon Communications, which owns controlling shares in Verizon Wireless, is trying to do the same thing.

But so far the phone companies have not introduced services or applications that truly cross platforms. And neither of the companies has aggressively marketed wireless service as part of its bundle of services, which already includes TV, high speed Internet, and TV.

A recent consumer survey by the CGI Group indicates that there is a big opportunity for phone companies to bundle their wireless services with the rest of their consumer services.

"Neither phone company is really taking advantage of the advantage of integrating and bundling wireless service with their wireline offering," said Phil Doriot, program director for CFI Group. "We think there is a significant opportunity here, and the phone companies are better positioned to take advantage of it than the cable companies."

AT&T also sees the opportunity. And the reorganization should help the company refocus its efforts.

"This is the next natural step in our plan to bring together the best of what we deliver--mobility, broadband, voice, video, data, applications and services on our global IP network--combined with a quality customer experience," the company said in its statement. "We expect these organizational changes will make us more effective and efficient in our sales and operations."