The muggles running AT&T and its WarnerMedia unit are saying goodbye to another long-time executive in Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. for the U.K. Ireland and Spain.
Berger, a 30-year Warner Bros. veteran, was also president of Harry Potter Global Franchise Development, leading the expanded creative partnership with author J.K. Rowling.
He will step down in December and remain as an advisor to senior management until the middle of 2021 for the Harry Potter franchise in his capacity as an executive producer for the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts film series and an upcoming BBC documentary Fantastic Beasts: A Network History and other projects.
Since AT&T took control of Time Warner last year, many of its senior executives have left the company.
Shortly after Berger's departure was announced WarnerMedia said it named Polly Cochrane as country manager for WarnerMedia U.K. and Ireland. Cochrane had been executive VP and group marketing director, Warner Bros. U.K. and Ireland, and chief marketing officer Harry Potter Global Franchise Development.
"Josh is one of the most respected people in the industry. He has been integral to the ongoing success of our Warner Bros. businesses in the UK, Ireland and Spain, and has been an incredible steward to the Harry Potter franchise,” said Gerhard Zeiler, WarnerMedia’s head of international. “He was also the first Warner Bros. country manager, pioneering the model which shapes the international organization today. It is fair to say, that thanks to his leadership and energy our company is for sure better off today. I respect his desire to take on new challenges and, along with all of our colleagues across the company, wish him the very best.”
Berger began his Warner Bros. career in 1986 as an intern in the international TV arm of Lorimar-Telepictures, which was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1989. He relocated to the U.K. 24 years ago to oversee all TV activities for the EMEA region and became the company’s first country manager in 2002, overseeing the U.K. and Ireland. He added responsibilities for Spain in 2009.
“There’s nothing more amazing than seeing stories being brought to life on screen,” said Berger. “Over the last 31 years at Warner Bros., I’ve been lucky to see every part of that process in action. I’ve seen ideas being formed and deals being struck, magic being made in front of the camera and behind it, and stories being told from – and sent to – all corners of the earth. I’m so grateful to all my colleagues for making this place feel like home for so long and wish them all the best for the future.”
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