WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar to leave his post ahead of Discover merger
WarnerMedia chief executive officer Jason Kilar will depart from the company later this week – just two months after his controversial decision to cut boss Jeff Zucker.
The decision comes with the completion of the merger between AT&T with media firm Discovery Inc – with no one lined up to replace him – but it likely means he misses out on a $20 million bonus that was due to trigger in May, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
‘With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing close, now is the right time to share with each of you that I will be departing this amazing company,’ Kilar said in the memo to employees on Tuesday.
The merger is expected to close this month.
David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery and projecting to be the first Warner Discovery CEO, revealed he doesn’t have any plans to replace Kilar, 50.
Last year, the Hollywood Reporter explained that Kilar was in line for a $20 million severance package if he made it to the two year anniversary of his hiring, on May 1, 2022.Further details on his exit deal have not been disclosed.
The former NBC Universal president and other senior Discovery executives, including Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels are expected to be part of the fusion’s management within the start of next week.
Kilar took over as head of WarnerMedia in April 2020, just before the launch of the HBO Max streaming service.He oversaw a sweeping restructuring of the company that summer, focusing it on the streaming service and installing new leadership.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar (right), 50, is expected to leave the company at the end of this week and could miss out on a $20 million severance package.Pictured: Tony Goncalves (left) and Jason Kilar attend the CNN+ Launch Event at PEAK NYC Hudson Yards on March 28, 2022 in New York City
Kilar will be leaving WarnerMedia after being left in the dark over AT&T’s acquisition of the network as well as Discovery
President and CEO of Discovery David Zaslav is expected to head the merger’s management team as soon as next week
A veteran tech executive will be best remembered for ‘Operation Popcorn’ – his plan for the first time to release new movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
That announcement was met with a furious reaction by the industry – but provided a flow of fresh content to the fledgling streaming service saw it grow to the 73.8 million subscribers.
‘We’ve elevated technology, product, and design to the highest levels in the company,’ Kilar wrote in his memo.’We’re operating as one team, proudly and successfully going direct to consumers across the globe. It has been deeply gratifying cheap flights to williamsport pa lean into the future alongside each of you and to do so with conviction.’
HBO Max’s streaming rivals, including Disney +, NBC Peacock and Paramount Plus were inspired to adopt similar strategies that Kilar had come up with.
Kilar was the one who made the decision to oust Jeff Zucker after the former CNN chief was caught hiding his relationship with former CNN communications and marketing boss Allison Gollust in February.CNN, HBO, Warner Bros, TNT and other channels and networks belong to WarnerMedia
Kilar was also behind the decision to oust former CNN chief Jeff Zucker after it was revealed that he was involved in a personal relationship with CNN marketing and communication head Allison Gollust, who also resigned as a result of the discovery.
The relationship was disclosed right after former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo resigned from his weeknight news analysis show on the network, following evidence that he had deceived his bosses about the amount help he was giving to his older brother and former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo in his bid to shrug off allegations of sexual harassment by several women.
Kilar shouldered responsibility for the decision from CNN staffers at town-hall-style meetings, with many fearing the network’s rating woulds decline as a consequence of the popular anchor’s dismissal.
‘There are times in this role where decisions need to be made that may not be popular but are important to make.Being a leader is not a popularity contest,’ Kilar told the Wall Street Journal.
Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo (right) resigned during Kilar’s tenure, with the latter facing the heat from staff who were worried about the network’s future.Cuomo was pressured into leaving his role after it was revealed that he was helping his brother Andrew Cuomo, former Governor of New York, a lot more than what people had previously thought with allegations of sexual assault
The departing CEO also engaged in developing Warner Bros’ gaming unit and had staff directly report to him, a hierarchy move that paid eventually paid off.In 2021, the unit’s profits reached an all-time high as one game in particular, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, had eclipsed last year’s most profitable movie – Godzilla vs. Kong.
Kilar also revealed that he was blindsided by AT&T’s talks with Discovery.However, rather than immediately step down from his role, the 50-year-old decided to stay on and work towards the future.
He worked on HBO Max’s international expansion, while still being involved in the day-to-day operations of the streaming service, now available in other countries outside of the US, including parts of Latin America and Europe as well as the Caribbean.