Three months after Jason Kilar settled in as WarnerMedia’s new CEO, he’s shaking up the corporate structure in a stunning overhaul that includes the departure of the two men who have been changing WarnerMedia: Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly.
The new structure, which puts streaming front and center, includes expanded roles for HBO programming president Casey Bloys, who will also oversee content for HBO Max, TNT, TBS and TruTV, and Otter CEO Tony Goncalves, who will head up a new unit that includes U.S. ad sales.
In a staff memo, Kilar said the moves will elevate HBO Max in the organization, simplify how the company organizes its studios, create a consolidated International unit and bring the company’s four key commercial activities into one group.
“Because of the gift that is the internet, we have what I believe is one of the greatest opportunities in the history of media, which is to deliver our beloved stories and experiences directly to hundreds of millions of consumers across the globe. Earning this ambitious future won’t come easy. To do so, I believe it is vital that we change how we are organized, that we simplify and that we act boldly and with urgency. The pandemic’s economic pressures and acceleration of direct-to-consumer streaming adoption places an even higher premium on these points,” wrote Kilar in a statement.
Among the changes are the following:
- HBO Max gm Andy Forssell will lead a new HBO Max operating business unit, reporting directly to Kilar.
- Warner Bros. chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff will oversee a new studios and networks group, which oversees all WarnerMedia television series and motion picture development, production and programming, combining those currently spread across Warner Bros., HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV.
- Bloys, who is president of HBO programming, will now additionally oversee content for HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV.
- Within Sarnoff’s purview, Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group continues to be led by chairman Toby Emmerich while Peter Roth will head up the Warner Bros. Television Studios group.
- Chief revenue officer Gerhard Zeiler, who had overseen WarnerMedia ad sales and Xandr, will head up a newly integrated international group comprised of the international operations of Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Networks.
- Goncalves, who had also been in charge of HBO Max, will now head up the commercial unit that combines U.S. advertising sales and distribution groups with home entertainment and content licensing.
- Christy Haubegger, chief enterprise inclusion officer, will also head up the global marketing and communications team including branding and corporate social responsibility.
- Jeff Zucker will continue as chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports.
The changes will see the departure of Greenblatt, who arrived at WarnerMedia in March 2019 as chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, in a major restructuring that gave Gerhard Zeiler ad sales oversight. Reilly started at the company in 2014 and spearheaded a complete reinvention of TNT and TBS. He has since added truTV to his purview and was chief content officer of HBO Max.
In addition to Greenblatt and Reilly, WarnerMedia communications chief Keith Cocozza will also be leaving the company.
Kilar indicated that more widespread WarnerMedia layoffs are in the works as a result of the reorganization, saying, “Simplifying our approach and narrowing our focus goes beyond, for example, having one content organization versus two. It also means that we will be reducing the size of our teams, our layers, and our overall workforce.”
He continued, “I realize this is a lot to take in. And none of us should expect the above changes to be easy. That said, we are successfully navigating a pandemic together, and I know that—however challenging the above changes may be—we will also successfully navigate them as well. As each of you take some time to digest the above, I hope that you become more and more energized by how, together, we are boldly leaning into the future and this historic opportunity that is right in front of us.”