Chris Spadaccini, the chief marketing officer of WarnerMedia Entertainment who had been with the company for more than two decades, is leaving the company, marking the latest high-profile executive departure at the division.
Spadaccini, who was elevated to chief marketing officer last June, had been overseeing all marketing aspects for the entertainment division, which encompassed branding and content marketing for HBO Max, channels TBS, TNT and truTV and HBO’s linear networks and streaming products. During his tenure at the company, the marketing executive helped debut HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s flagship streaming service, which saw something of a bumpy debut after Covid-19 required a condensed and overhauled marketing strategy. The service, which continues to add new originals to its lineup, has since cleared 4.1 million sign-ups, and its growth is on pace with the company’s five-year plans.
Throughout his time at HBO, Spadaccini helped build the brand nationally and globally with campaigns like “It’s What Connects Us” and “Awkward Family Viewing.” Marketing campaigns for shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld attracted Interactive Emmy, Grand Clio and Cannes Lion awards. He also oversaw marketing for recent major HBO hits, Watchmen and Succession, which both won big during Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards.
“My 21 years at HBO have been nothing short of an extraordinary experience,” Spadaccini said in a statement. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead a marketing team that consistently sets the standard for excellence across the industry. I am filled with enormous gratitude for the opportunity to have supported the vision of some of the world’s greatest storytellers and to have shaped the image of the HBO brand, which continues to be the gold standard in television.”
Spadaccini’s departure comes less than five months into Jason Kilar’s tenure as WarnerMedia CEO. Kilar has made significant changes to the company’s executive ranks, beginning with a major overhaul to the company structure last month that put streaming front and center. During those changes, WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt exited the company, as did Kevin Reilly, the chief content officer of HBO Max and the president of TNT, TBS and truTV. At the time, Kilar said that more changes—and layoffs—were coming.
“Simplifying our approach and narrowing our focus goes beyond, for example, having one content organization versus two,” he said at the time. “It also means that we will be reducing the size of our teams, our layers and our overall workforce. 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 part of August’s shakeup, Casey Bloys, the head of programming at HBO, saw his role expanded to include programming for HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV. Bloys and Spadaccini had worked together for years.
“One of the first shows Chris and I worked on together was Flight of the Conchords,” Bloys said in a statement. “That was 15 years ago, and I have been in awe of his endless creativity ever since. The Sopranos, Veep, Game of Thrones as well as this year’s big Emmy winner Watchmen is just a short list of his and his team’s iconic campaigns. He elevated the HBO brand as the leader of marketing and I look forward to seeing what he does next.”