Three WarnerMedia execs will leave once merger with Discovery closes

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Three executives at WarnerMedia announced their departures from the company as it prepares to merge with Discovery.

Jason Kilar, current CEO of WarnerMedia, Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of studio and network group and Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager of HBO Max all announced April 5, 2022, that they wouldn’t be staying on once the deal goes through.

The merger looks likely to close April 8, 2022.

David Zaslav, the current head of Discovery, was previously announced as the new leader of Warner Bros. Discovery, so it’s not surprising top leadership is exiting.

With Zaslav already announced in this role, Kilar’s role was already up in the air.

Zaslav reportedly isn’t a fan of creating multiple layers of management and eliminating these three positions could have been a big step toward that goal. It’s also likely the decision will result in significant cost savings since these were likely highly paid roles.

Sarnoff was notified that her position would be eliminated once the merger goes through, which sees AT&T spinning off WarnerMedia to Discovery.

Forssell’s departure is noteworthy in that both companies have already invested heavily in streaming — WarnerMedia with HBO Max and CNN+, and Discovery with Discovery+.

However, it’s already been revealed to investors that HBO Max and Discovery+ will likely be combined at some point after the merger closes in order to better compete in an increasingly cluttered streaming world.