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Ascheim, Weitz, Cochrane join post-merger departures from Warner Bros Discovery

Veteran children’s TV exec Tom Ascheim, TNT, TBS and truTV general manager Brett Weitz and UK and Ireland chief Polly Cochrane have become the latest high-profile departures following the merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia.

Tom Ascheim

Weitz, who had held the GM role at the cable networks since 2019, has seen his position eliminated after the US Networks Group division was restructured under Kathleen Finch following the official formation of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD). Finch has added TNT, TBS and truTV to her portfolio.

Since the merger closed on April 8, new scripted development has been suspended at TNT and TBS and several shows have been cancelled.

Ascheim joined WarnerMedia in 2020 as president of global kids, young adults and classics after serving as president of Freeform for the previous seven years.

His position was also axed following the restructuring of WarnerMedia’s US linear networks under Finch.

Weitz and Ascheim will both remain with the company for a transition period.

In addition, executive VP of worldwide corporate communications and public affairs Johanna Fuentes will leave after a transition period. Before joining Warner, Fuentes was executive VP of communications at Showtime Networks.

Brett Weitz

On the other side of the Atlantic, WBD confirmed on Wednesday that Cochrane is stepping down from her role as executive VP and country manager for the UK and Ireland after 13 years with WarnerMedia.

Cochrane joined in 2009 as senior VP of group marketing and rose to her most recent role in 2020, leading the development and execution of WarnerMedia’s commercial and marketing activities across the region. She played a key role in integrating the Warner Bros and Turner businesses in the UK and Ireland.

Cochrane is leaving the company to pursue a portfolio career, which will include coaching and mentoring leaders and emerging talent, said WBD.

The news comes less than three weeks after WBD confirmed its international leadership team under London-based head Gerhard Zeiler.

Within the new team, WBD International appointed Priya Dogra as president and MD for EMEA (excluding Poland), overseeing the company’s footprint across the region.

Polly Cochrane

Dogra is set to reveal her new team in due course. Once the new EMEA leadership has been put in place, Cochrane will remain for a transition period.

Significant changes are expected in the coming months as the integration of WarnerMedia and Discovery continues globally.

David Zaslav, president and CEO of the combined company, previously said he will take “swift and decisive action” over elements of the business that do not provide long-term growth. So far, the most high-profile casualty of the new regime has been streaming service CNN+, which was shuttered just one month after launching.


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