Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Inc. Tennessee, announced her retirement November 27, 2023, wrapping up a decade-long stint at the helm. Her last day with the company will be Dec. 1, 2023. Her replacement has not yet been named. Phillips joined AT&T in 2001 as a regulatory attorney and served as president for the past decade, according to a press release.
She is the longest standing president in the company's history. Over the years, Phillips has leveraged her experience and strong connections to get more women involved in technology and to expand internet access to rural communities. During her time as president, the actress-turned-lawyer-turned president lead a campaign to modernize Tennessee's state laws that govern technology services and providers.
The included making sure new technology investments are welcome in the state and consumers are protected. As one of the most prominent and politically connected business executives in the state, she has also established herself as a leading voice in education and workplace development. In 2014, she was appointed as chair of the Drive to 55 Alliance by then-Gov. Bill Haslam to increase post-secondary education credentials. She also served on the board of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and serves as the vice chair of the board of Birmingham-Southern College, her alma mater. In 2016, Phillips was named Nashville Business Journal's Newsmaker of the Year for her role in AT&T's battle with Google Fiber over utility poles.
Most recently, she took the charge in restoring services while operating in a crime scene after the 2020 Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville, which exploded outside the telecommunication company's vital downtown transmission hub.