Warner Bros. Discovery picked senior leadership for its ad sales team following the acquisition of WarnerMedia by Discovery earlier this year, with mostly former Discovery executives getting key posts.
The changes were announced by Jon Steinlauf, the former head of Discovery ad sales, who was named chief U.S. advertising sales officer for Warner Bros. Discovery shortly before the combination was finalized.
Under the new organization, sales for Warner Bros. Discovery’s collection of cable networks will be spearheaded by three executives, Jon Diament, Karen Grinthal and Greg Regis. Additionally, digital and streaming platforms, including HBO Max, will be overseen by Jim Keller.
“I believe we have an all-star leadership team, and I am excited to work with this group as we build out the organization and our sales strategies,” Steinlauf said in an internal memo.
“The brands are bundled to allow teams to focus on the strengths of a complementary, cohesive portfolio designed to optimize results for our clients,” Steinlauf said.
The new structure will take effect in September.
“As we complete our inaugural Upfront for WBD, I want to congratulate all of you on the success we achieved during a time of transition in our organization,” he said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far and I’m excited to share our new sales structure and leadership team.”
The company is expected to make deep cuts in the combined ad sales staff as part of its effort to deliver $3 billion in cost savings to Wall Street.
The top WarnerMedia sales executive, Katrina Cukaj, will be leaving but has agreed to stay with the company through a transition period. Cukaj was named head of ad sales after the Discovery deal was announced and JP Colaco left. Cukaj was with Turner Broadcasting before Time Warner Inc. was acquired by AT&T. Under AT&T many top Turner executives left the company.
Laura Dames, who was named executive VP of WarnerMedia ad sales last year, is leaving the company.
Among the remaining WarnerMedia execs, Diament, will continue to oversee linear and digital sales for Turner Sports. He will also oversee sales for Discovery Channel, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, truTV, Science Channel, NBA TV and MotorTrend.
Andrea Zapata, who joined WarnerMedia as head of research last year, will lead research, data and insights for Warner Bros. Discovery.
Former Discovery executive Grinthal will oversee linear and digital sales and revenue for Food Network, TLC, TBS Entertainment, OWN, Cooking Channel, Cartoon Network and WB Syndication.
Regis will oversee linear and digital sales and revenue for HGTV, CNN, ID, TNT Entertainment, Magnolia Network, Travel and HLN. He and Grinthal had been executive VPs at Discovery.
Jim Keller will set strategy for Warner Bros. Discovery streaming and digital products including HBO Max, Discovery Plus, CNN Digital and sports, as well as overseeing advanced advertising, programmatic, TV everywhere and video-on-demand.
Warner Bros. Discovery also said John Daily will lead cross-company partnerships and new business, and Laura Galietta will lead integrated advertising sales marketing.
Sheereen Russell will lead Warner Bros. Discovery’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) content monetization efforts while maintaining her leadership role at OWN.
Robert Voltaggio will oversee pricing and planning, Voltaggio will also be responsible for sales support, commercial operations and direct response.
Steinlauf said Scott Kohn has chosen to take a leadership position in the Midwest in order to spend more time with his family in Chicago. He will help shape the new organization and play an important role, Steinlauf said.
A town hall meeting will be held to lay out the structure and strategy in more detail, he said.
“Warner Bros. Discovery has the greatest collection of brands to offer advertisers, and our new leadership team will unlock that unique value to best drive success for our clients,” Steinlauf said in a press release about the changes. “This organizational structure combines strengths from each legacy organization with a set of client-focused, results-oriented leaders across brands and platforms who will create innovative, impactful advertising opportunities for our partners.” ■
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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.