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WarnerMedia Begins Laying Off U.S. Staffers

Jason Kilar
Jason Kilar (Image credit: WarnerMedia)

AT&T’s WarnerMedia today began letting staffers know if their jobs are being eliminated as part of a reorganization during a pandemic and recession.

The number of layoffs was not immediately known.

AT&T acquired Time Warner two years ago and many of its top managers left as it consolidated units and tried to pivot its TV business from cable to streaming, with a focus on converting HBO to HBO Max.

Jason Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu, was brought in to run WarnerMedia. In a memo on Tuesday, Kilar apologized for the bad news many staffers will receive, and for taking too much time to deliver the news.

Related: Reading the WarnerMedia Tea Leaves

“Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team. This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations. Starting today in North America, we will be sharing which jobs are being eliminated and which roles have changed,” Kilar said in the memo. “We are continuing to review proposed changes in other countries across our non-US businesses, the timing of which will vary according to local regulatory requirements.”

Kilar said he will hold a town hall at the company Wednesday afternoon to answer remaining staffers’ questions.

“While I anticipate that organizationally, things will settle down materially in the weeks and months to come (we’ve worked hard to make this a process with a beginning, middle and an end), I don’t want to suggest that our future is static. Rather, our future is about inventing ever better ways to move the world through story…which entails embracing change. I have every confidence in this world class team to do just that,” he said. 

“To our colleagues who are leaving, I wish there were words to lessen today’s pain. Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today's news does not change that. I am extremely thankful for all that you have done for this team and this mission. I hope that at some point you will look back on all of it with immense pride,” he said.

Here is Kilar's Memo:

November 10, 2020

Team-

This is a very painful email to write. And for a number of you reading this, I realize it will be even more painful to receive. For this, I am sorry.

In August, I first shared news about how we were going to meaningfully change the organizational structure of WarnerMedia (which entailed, among other items, simplifying how we organize our entertainment studios, elevating HBO Max, and consolidating our commercial activities into one organization). Many of you have patiently waited to hear how the reorganization would affect you personally, which is both uncomfortable and stressful. Reducing this period of uncertainty was one of the many reasons we pushed so hard to get through this work as quickly and as thoughtfully as possible, although it probably didn’t feel fast enough. I want to thank you all for continuing to contribute your best, despite this challenging period and the additional pressure of everything else that has been going on in the world.

I’ve previously shared how critical it is for us to evolve how we operate in the context of best serving customers. As I mentioned a few months ago, this entails simplifying how we are organized, partnering with the very best storytellers, and leaning into world class product and technology as we share our stories directly with audiences across the globe. Our journey entails continuing to excel in our large, core businesses while at the same time investing in emerging businesses where we have the opportunity to meaningfully delight customers.

Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team. This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations. Starting today in North America, we will be sharing which jobs are being eliminated and which roles have changed. We are continuing to review proposed changes in other countries across our non-US businesses, the timing of which will vary according to local regulatory requirements. Nothing about this is easy. But please know, these reductions are not in any way a reflection of the quality of the team members impacted, nor their work. It is simply a function of the changes I believe we must make in order to best serve customers. For those impacted, we will be offering severance and healthcare packages, in addition to professional services and team member assistance programs.

While I anticipate that organizationally, things will settle down materially in the weeks and months to come (we’ve worked hard to make this a process with a beginning, middle and an end), I don’t want to suggest that our future is static. Rather, our future is about inventing ever better ways to move the world through story…which entails embracing change. I have every confidence in this world class team to do just that.

Please join me in a Town Hall tomorrow at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT where I will try and answer as many of your questions as possible. You can start to send your questions here.

To our colleagues who are leaving, I wish there were words to lessen today’s pain. Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today's news does not change that. I am extremely thankful for all that you have done for this team and this mission. I hope that at some point you will look back on all of it with immense pride.

Until then, please stay well and safe.

Jason