WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar has announced he will be leaving the company.
In a memo shared with staff today and obtained by The edgeKilar said his departure will coincide with the impending merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. Kilar wrote that there were “a lot of feelings you could have at a time like this, but for me there is none greater or more lasting than the feelings of gratitude and love I have for this team, this company and this mission.” The news was: previously reported by means of The Hollywood Reporter†
“I have never been so satisfied professionally. Professionally I have never been happier. This team – and what we have built together – are the reasons for that,” Kilar wrote. “We lead the industry creatively. We have taken technology, product and design to the highest level in the company. We operate as one team and go proudly and successfully direct to consumers around the world. It has been very gratifying to lean into the future with each of you and do so with conviction.”
Kilar’s was expected to leave the company, but it was reported that he would fill his role as CEO until early 2022, close around the time of the merger. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal — which has already been cleared by regulators — is expected to close sometime in the second quarter of 2022, but could close next week. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has long been positioned to lead the merged companies.
A prominent executive in the streaming space, Kilar was the founding CEO at Hulu and was Appointed CEO of WarnerMedia in the spring of 2020. It was under Kilar that WarnerMedia controversially moved its entire 2021 film series to a hybrid release on HBO Max during the pandemic — a move that followed a years-long tug-of-war between theaters and studios over window exclusivity.
“It has been the honor of my life to lead this team,” said Kilar. “My heart is so full and I am extremely grateful to all of you. There is no better team on the planet, and I will relish every last step as I roam the grounds in Burbank a few more times this week, with this team in my thoughts, always.”
Read the full text of Kilar’s email to staff below:
With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing completion, now is the time to share with you that I am leaving this great company.
There are many feelings you can have at a time like this, but for me there is none greater or more lasting than the feelings of gratitude and love I have for this team, this company and this mission. I have never been more fulfilled professionally. Professionally I have never been happier. This team – and what we have built together – are the reasons for that. We lead the industry creatively. We have taken technology, product and design to the highest level in the company. Operating as one team, we proudly and successfully go directly to consumers around the world. It was very gratifying to face the future with each of you and to do so with conviction.
The delights are many, especially the conversations I’ve had with many WarnerMedia team members, delving deep into the business, whether it be on the legendary plot in Burbank, along The High Line at Hudson Yards, in and around Techwood and CNN Center, in our archives, across the expansive grounds in Leavesden, at one of our game studio locations, or the many other locations where this team is literally changing the world. Apparently word got around that when Jason calls for a walk-and-talk, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes!
For those of you who know me well (or follow me on Twitter), it’s no surprise that I love our history and the footprint we have around the world as a company. I’ve done my best to visit and get to know as many of you as possible and to photographically capture my love for this team and company along the way via social media. So when my wife Jamie and I thought about what we could do on our own to adequately express our appreciation to all of you, we came up with the idea of creating a series of artifacts using some of the photos I took to celebrate this team and Warner Media. We invite you all to visit this website and choose an image that resonates…of the iconic Warner Bros. water tower, the gleaming towers of Hudson Yards, the virtual production stage in Leavesden and much more. An artifact with that image (and a note from me on the back) will be shipped to you in the coming weeks. We hope this keepsake will bring a smile and remind you of the important contributions we have made to the 99-year legacy of this extraordinary company.
It has been the honor of my life to lead this team. My heart is so full and I am extremely grateful to all of you. There is no better team on the planet, and I will enjoy every last step as I roam the grounds in Burbank a few more times this week, with this team in my mind, always.