WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, whose position was destabilized last week after Discovery and AT&T announced plans for a merger, says he will remain as CEO for the next 12 months.
“My plan and my focus is to remain here in my CEO role at WarnerMedia. I am not thinking right now about post-merger,” he said during a town hall meeting with employees today. “There will be a time to consider that topic in 2022.”
Multiple press reports after the announcement of AT&T’s planned spinoff of WarnerMedia into a new entity run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, indicated that Kilar had been blindsided by the news. When AT&T CEO John Stankey was asked by reporters about Kilar’s role in the new company, he said it would be up to Zaslav.
The merger is expected to gain regulatory approval in the middle of next year.
Kilar, the founding CEO of Hulu and a former Amazon exec who took the helm of WarnerMedia in May 2020, has made a number of moves in support of streaming service HBO Max. Most notably, he spearheaded the plan to put the entire Warner Bros film slate on the service at the same time it reached theaters. While the strategy has boosted subscriptions and also netted significant box office for releases like Godzilla vs. Kong, it strained relations with the talent community. It also resulted in near-term sacrifices in revenue in exchange for longer-term subscriber growth.
Along with Kilar, speakers at the town hall included Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group and international chief Gerhard Zeiler, one attendee said.