Discovery Inc. unveiled its leadership team for the soon-to-be merged Warner Bros. Discovery, making clear that Chief Executive David Zaslav was bringing along his trusted group of senior managers to the new company.
Four senior WarnerMedia executives are being retained: Casey Bloys will remain HBO and HBO Max chief content officer; Toby Emmerich will continue as chairman of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group; and Channing Dungey will stay on as chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group.
In addition, Gerhard Zeiler, who was in charge of WarnerMedia’s international holdings, will become Warner Bros. Discovery president of international operations, taking over Discovery’s significant foreign operations.
WarnerMedia’s other top managers were nudged toward the door, including CEO Jason Kilar and WarnerMedia Networks and Studios chief Ann Sarnoff. Also exiting: HBO Max chief Andy Forssell, who was instrumental in overhauling the two-year-old streaming service; Tony Goncalves, chief revenue officer who helped lead WarnerMedia to a banner financial year; and Richard Tom, chief technology officer.
Discovery’s $43-billion takeover of WarnerMedia from AT&T is expected to be complete as early as Friday.
In a statement on Thursday, Discovery said the changes will result in “a flatter organizational structure.”
“Today’s announcement combines a strong team of professional managers in a simpler organizational structure, with fewer layers, more accountability and a singular strategic focus as a global pure-play content company,” Zaslav said in the statement. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves with this team so that, together, we can write this next exciting chapter.”
Discovery television executive Kathleen Finch will take on an expanded role as chairman and chief content officer for the company’s portfolio of U.S.-based TV networks, including WarnerMedia’s TNT and TBS.
Discovery has promised Wall Street that the combination will result in at least $3 billion in cost savings and, with the management moves, the company wiped out some of the highest-income earners that AT&T had installed.
People familiar with the shift said some departing WarnerMedia executives were told they could remain but were simultaneously informed that they would no longer be in charge of their departments and would report to a Discovery executive. Several decided that they didn’t want to stick around for smaller jobs, these people said.
Discovery said the new top team includes:
— Adria Alpert Romm will serve as chief people and culture officer, the same role she held at Discovery.
— Bruce Campbell will become chief revenue and strategy officer, with responsibility for domestic advertising, distribution and content licensing. He previously served as Discovery’s chief development, distribution and legal officer.
— David Leavy, a longtime Zaslav confidante, will serve as chief corporate affairs officer, overseeing corporate relations, government relations, marketing, communications, research, events and social responsibility.
— Chris Licht will be chief of CNN Global, as previously announced.
— Lori Locke will become chief accounting officer, the same role she held at Discovery.
— JB Perrette, another longtime Zaslav lieutenant, will become chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment, responsible for HBO Max and Discovery+.
— Savalle Sims remains general counsel, a position she held at Discovery.
— Gunnar Wiedenfels will continue as chief financial officer.