AT&T Names Kilar as WarnerMedia CEO

AT&T named former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar as CEO of its WarnerMedia unit, effective May 1.

He succeeds John Stankey, who was promoted to president and COO of AT&T last year.

Kilar is known for his ideas about shaking up the TV business at Hulu, which created friction with Hulu’s owners, which at the time included Fox, NBCUniversal and the Walt Disney Co. Disney now controls Hulu.

“Jason is a dynamic executive with the right skill set to lead WarnerMedia into the future. His experience in media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer video streaming and advertising is the perfect fit for WarnerMedia, and I am excited to have him lead the next chapter of WarnerMedia’s storied success,” said Stankey.

“Our team led by Bob Greenblatt, Ann Sarnoff, Gerhard Zeiler and Jeff Zucker has done an amazing job establishing our brands as leaders in the hearts and minds of consumers. Adding Jason to the talented WarnerMedia family as we launch HBO Max in May gives us the right management team to strategically position our leading portfolio of brands, world-class talent and rich library of intellectual property for future growth,” said Stankey.

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WarnerMedia was formed when AT&T acquired Time Warner. Most of the top executives at Time Warner left, including CEO Jeff Bewkes and David Levy, the head of Time Warner’s Turner unit and Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO.

Brian Lesser, who headed AT&T's Xandr advanced advertising unit, left the company last month when he was told he wouldn't get the job as WarnerMedia CEO.

Under Stankey, WarnerMedia aimed to break down the silos between HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. as it looked to scale up to enter the streaming market. The company plans to launch its streaming product, HBO Max later this year.

Having launched Hulu, Kilar has experience in streaming.

“In partnership with this world-class team, I'm so excited for the opportunity to lean into the future at WarnerMedia,” said Kilar. “Stories well told have always mattered, and they matter even more in this challenging time for the world. It will be a privilege to invent, create, and serve with so many talented people. May 1st can't get here soon enough.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.