EXCLUSIVELY, UPDATED MORE DETAILS: Less than 24 hours after CEO Jason Killar, HBO Max boss Andy Forsell and studio manager Anne Sarnaff were pink slipped out of WarnerMedia, which is about to disappear, today more executives showed the door.
These include CFO Jennifer Beery, Jason Killar’s right-wing employee Christy Haubeger, who is also the Chief Executive Officer for Inclusion, EVP Chief Human Resources Officer Jim Cummings, EVP Chief Revenue Officer Tony Goncalves, EVP General Jensu and Jury General chief technology officer Richard Tom.
This latest series of exits takes place about 48 hours before the new merger of Discovery-WarnerMedia with Discovery CEO David Zaslav as CEO. Zaslav is a guy who doesn’t like a lot of fat in his corporate structure, and this morning’s mass layoffs underscore this. Sources tell us that the recently merged company will debut on Monday on Wall Street.
Staying for a short time to help with the “transition,” communications boss Haubeger had just sent out a memo to staff. “On a personal level, this trip was the peak of my career,” she wrote on Wednesday. “Your talents have made it an honor, and your friendship a joy,” the esteemed leader added. See her full note below.
More departures are expected, though we hear they may be coming in the next few weeks rather than the next hours or days.
HBO and HBO Max content directors Casey Blois is expected to be asked to stay. Also among those who seem to stay in the new Warner Bros Discovery are Warner Bros Motion Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich; Channing Dangi, chairman of Warner Bros. Television; and Warner Bros. CEO Carolyn Blackwood are currently safe.
At the moment, all outgoing executives are still appearing on the WarnerMedia website in their previous positions.
There was a lot of noise that Zaslav, the practical director, had to appoint the general head of the studio. Names like Netflix movie boss Scott Stuber, Disney General Entertainment chairman Peter Rice and former Paramount Motion Pictures president Emma Watts have been buzzing around town for the job. However, there are a group of sources who say the rendezvous is not fast. We hear that Zaslavl is all about the film studio; and believes that this needs to be fixed. This year Warner Bros. Batman after last year’s HBO Max day and date strategy was successful, Matt Reeves took the picture, earning more than $ 700 million. At the same time, yesterday with the release of Sarnaf it was announced that her role will not be duplicated in the new organizational structure of the combined company.
With all the transition from the company today and yesterday, longtime assistant Zaslavl Adria Alpert Rom looks like a major player in the future. The chairman of Discovery Communications SEVP’s director of human relations and global diversity will now retire at the end of the year. However, due to the fact that events are evolving so fast and there are personnel changes similar to the red wedding, we hear that Roma may postpone his retirement for the second time to help Zaslav run a large new merged company. Of course, jumping from the relatively small Discovery spacecraft to the aircraft carrier WarnerMedia will require cool and fast learning from Zaslav, Roma and other members of the immediate circle of Discovery.
Some days are bigger than others. This is one of those days.
I am writing to inform you that I am going to leave the company after the merger closes. I’ll be here soon to help with the transition and continue to do the best part of my job, which is to stand up for you, making sure the new leadership knows how extraordinary this team really is.
When I joined WarnerMedia three years ago, I was hired as the company’s first inclusion director. At the time, there was no Equity + Inclusion role, no team and no structure. What’s more, it was an organization in transition, but transition moments often present the greatest opportunities. At each inflection point you get a chance to press the reset button and invent who you will be. I believed we had a chance to redefine WarnerMedia as a leader in equity and inclusion. I was lucky to have two CEOs, John Stankey and Jason Killar, and a partner in HR leader Jim Cummings, who believed that focusing on E + I was not just right, but actually a strategy that would allow us to win the market. The investment we have made in building the strongest Equity + Inclusive team in business and shifting our collective focus has led to the most diverse and inclusive workforce, content and narrators that have been with this company for almost a century.
Jason Killar entrusted me with the leadership of Communications in 2020, and now I can confirm what many suspected: this is the most outstanding Comms team in the business. Among other achievements, you gathered from our old businesses to form a cohesive team, covered the incredible press coverage of the global launch (s) of HBO Max, launched countless series, films, documentaries and special programs that were widely acclaimed by critics, record ratings and boxing success in the office, achieved a record number of nominations and awards, opened theatrical releases around the world, published major sporting events, released games, strengthened our efforts on Equity + Inclusion, secured our ranking in the list of 2022 Fast Company’s most innovative companies in the world (# 1 in the Film and Television category, and helped keep CNN a world leader in news and the recent launch of CNN +. At an unprecedented time, we found a way to take care of each other as well as supporting the efforts of our nonprofit partners to support communities on Achieve all this under any circumstances would be feats. Doing so in incredibly stressful conditions, pandemics and constant change is nothing short of wonderful.
I understand that today’s news may be alarming at this time of uncertainty. But I want to remind you of a key thing we have learned over the last few years: that this organization is, in fact, impossible to stop, and the momentum you have created cannot be undone. I am so deeply proud of you and very grateful to you and all that you have achieved. More importantly, I look forward to seeing you all go forward.
On a personal level, this journey has been the peak of my career. Your talents have made it an honor, and your friendship a joy.