WarnerMedia CEO Jason Killar announced on Tuesday that he was resigning ahead of the completion of the acquisition of Discovery, now owned by AT&T, which is expected to take place on April 11.
While Killar’s exit from WarnerMedia after the merger was expected since AT&T and Discovery first announced the planned transaction last spring, it means the manager has formalized the plan as Discovery CEO David Zaslav prepares to run the merged Warner company. The Discovery Brothers.
“As the Discovery transaction draws to a close, now is a good time to share with each of you that I am leaving this amazing company,” Killar said in a note sent to WarnerMedia. “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 have never been so happy professionally. This team – and what we’ve 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. ”
Killar was appointed CEO of WarnerMedia in April 2020, just as he was preparing to launch the HBO Max streaming service. This was not Killar’s first OTT rodeo, as he was appointed CEO of Hulu shortly after its launch in 2007 and over the next five years turned it into a worthy competitor to Netflix.
Since joining WarnerMedia, Killar, who founded YouTube rival Vessel, which was sold and discontinued at Verizon Communications in October 2016, has shaken the boat with extensive reshuffles and layoffs as the company tried to refocus to fit a more streaming-oriented future. AT&T Director John Stankey openly praised Kilar’s strategic focus). Then, amid months of struggle for filming due to the closure of pandemic-related cinemas, he unveiled a plan in December 2020 to release all films from Warner Bros. The theatrical film of 2021 is simultaneously on HBO Max, free for subscribers, which has caused a shock in the industry.
See the full note that Kilar sent to the staff below.
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 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’ve 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 Leavesden, in any of our gaming studios or many other places where this team is literally changing the world. Apparently, when Jason encourages you to play and talk, be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
For those of you who know me well (or follow me on Twitter), it’s no surprise that I admire our history and the track 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.