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Discovery Inc. announced the future executive leadership team for Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. on Tuesday, ahead of the close of the company’s transaction to combine its non-fiction, international entertainment and sports businesses with WarnerMedia’s entertainment, sports and news assets. The new leadership team includes leaders from both organizations.
“We are so excited to bring the heritage and legacies of these two great companies together by creating Warner Bros. Discovery, and I am proud that our new executive management team blends world-class leaders from both organizations as we take our first step toward one single cohesive, collaborative culture,” future Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “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. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves with this team so that, together, we can write this next exciting chapter. These accomplished leaders will create a place where creatives, talent and all of our people in every corner of the globe can do their best work and inspire audiences everywhere with the magic, joy and wonder of world-class storytelling, news and sports.”
Among the appointments is Chris Licht, who will officially be known as Chairman and CEO of CNN Global. Licht will report directly to Zaslav. The announcement was made at the end of February, with Zaslav saying, “I have known and admired Chris for more than 15 years and strongly believe he is the best person to lead CNN Global as part of Warner Bros. Discovery,” adding, “Chris is a dynamic and creative producer, an engaging and thoughtful journalist and a true news person. He has more than two decades of broadcast experience across local, cable and national news. He has been in the field, in the control room and on the set. He is a highly principled individual who is trusted, hard-working and makes every organization stronger, more innovative, and more cohesive.”
The new company is also actively searching to fill the role of Chair and CEO for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, with the executive reporting directly into Zaslav. Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker had oversight of WarnerMedia’s sports properties, but is of course now out of the running for this new role. Interestingly, neither Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels, nor Patrick Crumb, who runs the RSN’s, will be considered for this role. It appears they will remain with the company, and instead report into this new hire.
Elsewhere on the TV side, Discovery Lifestyle Networks boss Kathleen Finch will assume a newly created role of Chairman and Chief Content Officer, U.S. Networks Group, a new, consolidated organization comprising the new company’s more than 40 U.S. Networks. Nancy Daniels, who is Discovery Factual Networks chief content officer, will report to Finch, as will Brett Weitz, who currently runs WarnerMedia networks TBS, TNT and truTV, and Tom Ascheim, who runs Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics. In addition to her role running all of the new company’s U.S. networks, Finch will maintain oversight of Discovery’s lifestyle networks, which include HGTV and Food Network.
Here are the other Warner Bros. Discovery executives:
• Adria Alpert Romm will serve as Chief People and Culture Officer, having held the same role at Discovery, Inc.
• Casey Bloys continues as Chief Content Officer of HBO & HBO Max.
• Bruce Campbell will assume the new role of Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer, with responsibility for US advertising sales, distribution revenue and content licensing; global corporate development and strategy; global streaming platform agreements; and the company’s legal affairs. He previously served as Discovery’s Chief Development, Distribution and Legal Officer.
• Channing Dungey continues as Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group.
• Toby Emmerich continues as Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, with responsibility for Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, DC-based films and Warner Bros. Feature Animation.
• David Leavy will be Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, overseeing key business functions and groups, including corporate relations, global government relations and public policy, corporate marketing, global communications, corporate research, events and social responsibility.
• Lori Locke will serve as Chief Accounting Officer, a position she held at Discovery. Locke will report to CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, whose role was previously announced.
• JB Perrette, formerly President and CEO, Discovery Streaming and International, will assume the role of CEO and President, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment, with responsibility for HBO Max and discovery+, as well as all direct-to-consumer and gaming around the world. David Haddad, President Warner Bros. Games, will report to Perrette.
• Savalle Sims will continue as General Counsel, a position she held at Discovery, reporting to Campbell.
• Gunnar Wiedenfels will continue as Chief Financial Officer, as previously announced. In addition to overseeing finance, he will have oversight of the Company’s global enterprise technical operations as well as real estate and facilities.
• Gerhard Zeiler will serve as President, International, with responsibility for the Company’s businesses across more than 200+ countries and territories. He has held the same role for WarnerMedia, and now adds responsibility for Discovery’s significant international footprint. With respect to direct-to-consumer and international content distribution strategy, Zeiler and his team will have a dotted line to Perrette.
The Company will name a new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at a later date. The role will report jointly to the CEO, and Chief People and Culture Officer.