Malone Leaves AT&T Board
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Four weeks earlier than expected, Liberty Media boss John Malone announced his resignation Tuesday from AT&T Corp.'s board of directors.
Malone, scheduled to leave the board Aug. 10, said he was leaving because of a conflict of interest dealing with Comcast's recent hostile takeover bid, according to a resignation letter acquired by Reuters.
C. Michael Armstrong, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer, said he understood Malone's decision and wished him the best.
"John Malone is a unique figure in American business history and we have been fortunate to have the benefit of his insight and vision," Armstrong said.
In fact, the announcement likely came as a surprise to many who thought Malone would just sit out his last four weeks on the sidelines. Greg Braden, AT&T Broadband executive vice president of broadband services and chief technology officer, speaking at the Internet World Chicago 2001, made no mention of Malone's departure in a keynote speech he gave to attendees.
Malone has been trying to leave the AT&T fold for months now, culminating in his bid to separate Liberty Media from AT&T, which wasn't possible until the Internal Revenue Service signed off on the company's departure.
AT&T gained Liberty Media Corp. through its acquisition of Tele-Communications Inc., in March 1999. The buyout helped Ma Bell add to its cable network footprint, making it the largest cable operator in the nation. Malone wanted out of AT&T from the start, but there is a two-year statute of limits if you will on merger deals, so that companies don't merge only to separate again to avoid certain federal taxes.