AT&T, still shaken by the death of its chairman, has elected Robert E. Allen to succeed the late James E. Olson and announced a 10.6 percent quarterly profit increase.
At their annual meeting Wednesday, shareholders also rejected a white supremacist group's resolution that sought to phase out AT&T's affirmative action and also rejected one seeking to expand affirmative action.Company directors voted late Tuesday to elevate the 53-year-old Allen to chairman and chief executive, just one day after Olson's death from colon cancer at age 62.
"This is a bittersweet moment for me," Allen told shareholders with a slight quaver in his voice. "I sincerely wish it were under different circumstances."
Allen moved quickly to assert that in spite of his mild manner he would carry on the work of his tough, blunt predecessor. He said he was proud of his style of developing trusting relations with colleagues.
"First and foremost, I'm a team player," Allen told reporters.
AT&T's earnings statement indicated continuing difficulties in selling computers and office equipment. Revenue was flat in the category of data products, network equipment and business communications products.
In contrast, revenue from services, mainly long-distance, was up 8.2 percent.
Overall, AT&T said its profit was up to $492 million, or 46 cents a share, from $445 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.8 percent to $8.35 billion from $8.12 billion.