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WarnerMedia’s Jason Kilar steps down as CEO as Discovery merger approaches

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar will step down as the company’s merger with Discovery nears completion.

Kilar made the announcement to employees via email Tuesday before appearing on CNBC’s “Tech Check.”

“I’ve been hearing for almost a year since the deal was announced, for a few simple reasons,” Kilar told CNBC’s Julia Burstyn. “Firstly, I love the team, the mission, I love this company. I never had any doubts that I would stay until the end before the transition.”

Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu, was appointed head of the AT&T WarnerMedia division a month later during the April 2020 pandemic. He began the role in May when the streaming platform HBO Max was launched. He was also responsible for making the controversial decision to release all of Warner Bros.’ movies streaming and in theaters throughout 2021.

Kilar is expected to leave on Friday.

“I don’t have big announcements,” Kilar said of his future. “I’m not going to the beach to retire. I’m excited about what’s next. Right now I’m focused on Warner Media.”

As the pending Discovery deal nears completion, now is the perfect time to share with each and every one of you that I am leaving this amazing company.

There are many feelings that can be experienced at such a moment, but for me there is nothing more powerful and lasting than the feelings of gratitude and love that I have for this team, this company and this mission. I have never been more realized professionally. I have never been happier professionally. This team and what we have created together is the reason for this. We lead the industry creatively. We have taken technology, products and design to the highest level in the company. We work as a team, proudly and successfully working directly with consumers around the world. It has been a pleasure to look to the future with each of you and to do so with confidence.

The pleasures are many, especially the walks and conversations I have had with many members of the WarnerMedia team, delving deeply into the issues at hand, whether on the legendary Burbank site, along the High Line at Hudson Yards, in and around Techwood and CNN Center, in our archives, on a massive Leavesden site, in any of our game studios, or in many other places where this team is literally changing the world. Apparently, it has become known that when Jason calls for a walk, be sure to 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 our company’s global presence. I did my best to visit and get to know as much of you as possible, as well as photographically document my love for this team and this company through social media. So, when my wife Jamie and I were thinking about what we could do ourselves to properly show our appreciation to each of you, we came up with the idea to create a series of artifacts with some of the photos I took to celebrate this team and WarnerMedia. We invite each of you to visit this website and choose an image that resonates… from the iconic Warner Bros. water tower, the glittering towers of Hudson Yards, the Leavesden virtual production scene, and more. An artifact with this image (and a note from me on the back) will be sent to you in the coming weeks. We hope this memento will bring a smile to your face and remind you of the important contribution we have made to the 99 year legacy of this outstanding company.

Leading this team has been the honor of my life. My heart is so full and I am immensely grateful to each and every one of you. There is no better team on the planet and I will enjoy every last step as I wander around Burbank a few more times this week, always thinking of this team.

This is breaking news. Please stay tuned for updates.


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