WarnerMedia CEO Jason Killar is leaving – The Hollywood Reporter

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Killar will step down after the merger of AT&T’s entertainment division with Discovery.

“As the transaction with Discovery is nearing completion, now is the best time to share with each of you that I am leaving this amazing company,” Killar wrote in an internal memo to staff on Tuesday. “There may be a lot of feelings at a time like this, but for me there are no greater and stronger feelings than the feelings of gratitude and love I feel for this team, this company and this mission. I have never been more realized professionally. I’ve never been so happy professionally. “

The CEO added: “This team – and what we have created together – are the reasons for this. We creatively lead the industry. We have raised technology, products and design to the highest level in the company. We work as one team, proudly and successfully go directly to consumers around the world. It was very nice to lean into the future with each of you and do it with conviction. ”

The deal is expected to be completed early in the current second quarter, possibly within days.

Killar was appointed head of AT & T’s WarnerMedia division a few months after the pandemic era, in April 2020, and began performing that role in May when he launched the HBO Max streaming platform.

Former Hulu CEO and former Amazon CEO was subordinate to AT&T CEO John Stankey, who oversaw a broad media portfolio that included CNN, Warner Bros. and HBO.

In December of that year, perhaps the most controversial course of his tenure, Kilar oversaw what was dubbed the “Popcorn Project” initiative aimed at all of Warner Bros. The 2021 film is coming out live on HBO Max on the same day that these films are released in theaters. The one-year experiment sparked an immediate response from filmmaking partners and top talent, but HBO and HBO Max ended 2021 with a total of 73.8 million subscribers worldwide.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav stressed that after the merger he plans to play a practical role when he moves to Los Angeles, which has led many observers to conclude that a joint CEO for AT&T’s former entertainment business is unlikely.

Killar’s future was also widely discussed when in May 2021, AT&T announced plans to nominate WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery, led by Zaslav, who will run the merged company. In the past, some have suggested that Killar could take on a technology-focused role, but after reports that he was kept in the dark during the Discovery merger, he commented on his future in late May 2021.

“My plan and I are focused on staying here as CEO of WarnerMedia,” Killar said at the time, according to a town hall meeting participant. “I don’t think about reunification now. In 2022, it will be time to consider this topic. “

After he left Hulu, Killar co-founded and served as CEO of startup for video streaming Vessel, which tried to bring a digital video window strategy by offering early access to content from the best YouTube users. However, the service found it difficult to catch customers who were used to receiving these programs for free, and eventually it sold its technology to Verizon in 2016. During his career, he was also a member of the boards of directors of DreamWorks Animation and Univision.

Kilar’s full note to the staff of April 5:

Due to the fact that the transaction with Discovery is nearing completion, now is the best time to share with each of you that I am leaving this amazing company.

There may be many feelings at such a time, but for me there are no greater and stronger feelings than the feelings of gratitude and love I feel for this team, this company and this mission. I have never been more realized professionally. I have never been so happy professionally. This team and what we have created together are the reasons for this. We creatively lead the industry. We have raised technology, products and design to the highest level in the company. We work as one team, proudly and successfully go directly to consumers around the world. It was a great pleasure to lean into the future with each of you and do so with conviction.

Lots of fun, especially the walks and conversations I’ve had with a lot of WarnerMedia team members, immersed deeply in the day-to-day business, whether on a high-rise in Burbank, along Highline in Hudson Yards, in and around Techwood and CNN Center, in our archives, on a wide plot in Livsden, in any of our game studios or many other places where this team is literally changing the world. Apparently, when Jason encourages you to play and chat, be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

For those of you who know me well (or subscribe to me on Twitter), it’s no surprise that I admire our story and the footprint we have as a company around the world. I did my best to visit and get to know as many of you as possible, as well as photographically document my love for this team and this company through social media. So when my wife Jamie and I thought we could do our own to adequately thank each of you, we came up with the idea to create a series of artifacts with some photos that I took to mark this team and WarnerMedia. We invite each of you to visit this website and choose an image that resonates … with the iconic Warner Bros. water tower, the gleaming Hudson Yards towers, the virtual production scene in Livsden and a few more. An artifact with this image (and my note on the back) will be sent to you in the coming weeks. We hope that this souvenir will bring a smile and remind you of the important contribution we have made to the 99-year heritage of this extraordinary company.

Leading this team has been the pride of my life. My heart is full and I am grateful to each of you. There is no better team on the planet and I will enjoy every last step if I wander around Burbank a few more times this week, always with this team in mind.

Jason

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