The Perfect Storm: COVID’s Impact on Global Supply Chains

The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly sent the global economy into unprecedented turmoil which has posed many challenges to supply chains – rapid employment shifts, raw material shortages, transportation congestion, and volatile surges in consumer demand. Susan A. Johnson, Executive Vice President – Global Connections and Supply Chain at AT&T, who runs the $70 billion global supply chain for one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, explains how AT&T and other companies are navigating these challenges.

Key lessons learned include:

  • Importance of supply chain visibility and end-to-end intelligence
  • Optimized distribution models to adapt to changing consumer preferences, and
  • Need to build multiple “layers” of redundancy

Susan Johnson
EVP, Global Connections & Supply Chain

Susan Johnson is the Executive Vice President of Global Connections & Supply Chain for AT&T. In this capacity, she is responsible for AT&T’s international & domestic strategy and partnership development for network connections. She oversees global and national access management, international voice termination, and international roaming support. She also leads Supply Chain functions within AT&T Communications supporting Consumer, Business and Technology & Operations. Her team manages strategic sourcing, purchasing, supplier diversity, sustainability, and supply chain logistics. Jointly, her organization is responsible for a spend portfolio of over $70B that covers all of AT&T’s technology, network and goods & services globally.

Ms. Johnson began working for AT&T in Corporate Development and over her 20-year career has served in a variety of positions within the AT&T portfolio of companies. She served as the head of AT&T’s Corporate Strategy group and Senior Vice President of Business Development, responsible for developing new revenue opportunities through the application of emerging technologies, and served as the Senior Vice President of Customer Information Services. Most recently Susan served as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations where she was the primary contact with the investment community on behalf of AT&T including Wall Street research analysts and institutional investors.

Before joining the AT&T family, Ms. Johnson was an investment banker at Smith Barney, Inc. in the San Francisco Technology Group, where she provided a range of financial advisory services to communications and technology clients. Ms. Johnson directed several growth companies through an initial public offering of stock and served as an advisor on merger and acquisition transactions. Prior to business school, she also worked in Smith Barney’s New York office as an analyst in the LBO/High Yield Debt area.

Susan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and raised on the East Coast. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Northwestern University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Susan received the 2017 Dallas Business Journal top Women in Business Award.

Susan lives in Dallas with her husband, Sean, and two children. She also serves on the board of GSMA, an international association that represents the interests of mobile network operators and carriers globally. She is an active runner and cyclist.