Former AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan has joined the board of directors of artificial intelligence vendor Cresta.

Donovan joined several industry heavyweights—including Ben Horowitz, who co-founded venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz with Marc Andreessen, on Cresta’s board.

Donovan joined AT&T in 2008 as its chief technology officer, overseeing the company’s global technology direction and innovation road map. He was then promoted to AT&T’s chief strategy officer and group president—AT&T Technology and Operations, before being named CEO of AT&T Communications in July 2017. Donovan retired from AT&T in 2019.

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Donovan was instrumental in AT&T’s Domain 2.0 effort, which set AT&T on a path to have 75% of its core network virtualized by last year by using network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).m

During Donovan’s almost 12-year tenure, AT&T developed an orchestration and automation platform called ECOMP with more than 8 million lines of software code. ECOMP was subsequently put in the Linux Foundation as part of its Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP.) Also during Donovan’s stint at AT&T, the telco developed its DANOS software operating system.

Donovan’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t list any additional board of director appointments, but three months ago he did recommend a children’s books in a post.

Cresta’s artificial intelligence technology improves contact center agents’ effectiveness in order to accelerate their productivity. Cresta said its roster of Fortune 500 customers have seen faster time-to-value, with many customers seeing more than a 20% improvement in conversion rate, a 25% greater average for order value, and millions of dollars in additional annual revenue in a matter of months. 

Customers of its Cresta for Customer Service have also seen a five-fold reduction in new agent onboarding time, a nearly 20% improvement in customer satisfaction, and a 15% reduction in average hold time.

Cresta’s investors include Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Andy Bechtolsheim, Mark Leslie and Vivi Nevo. Those investors have backed Facebook, LinkedIn, Workday, Okta and Arista Networks, according to Cresta’s website.

Cresta was founded in 2017 by Zayd Enam, Sebastian Thrun and Tim Shi. Thrun was a Google vice president and Fellow, a professor of computer science at Stanford University and co-founder of Udacity.

“John (Donovan) is well-known first and foremost as a great human being: smart, humble and a terrific mentor,” said Cresta CEO Enam, in a statement. “Formed at the helm of one the world’s most prominent communications companies, John’s expertise and insights into how AI will shape big businesses are extensive. I am very excited to have John on board to help guide us through our next growth phase.”