Kilar’s departure paves the way for David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery, to begin building his own management team
Jason Kilar is departing as CEO of WarnerMedia, days before the parent of Warner Bros. studios and HBO merges with Discovery Inxc. to form a new media company.
Kilar, 50, who co-founded and led the Hulu streaming service before going on to run WarnerMedia under current owner AT&T Inc., is stepping down, according to an internal memo.
“We’re leading the industry creatively,” Kilar said in the note to staff. “We’ve elevated technology, product, and design to the highest levels in the company. We’re operating as one team, proudly and successfully going direct to consumers across the globe.”
His exit paves the way for David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery, to begin building his own management team at the soon-to-be-combined companies. AT&T, which bought the former Time Warner Inc. for $85 billion in 2018, is returning to its roots as a phone company after a failed experiment in media.
AT&T appointed Kilar to run WarnerMedia in April 2020, believing a technology executive with experience in streaming could lead the company into a new era. AT&T was on the verge of launching a streaming business, HBO Max, and viewed Kilar as the right person for the job.
He made waves in the film industry during the pandemic by releasing all of the Warner Bros. movies simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service. That broke the old rules of distribution, which called for cinemas to have new movies exclusively for 90 days or more.
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