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HBO Max international execs Larcher, Duran out at Warner Bros Discovery

Johannes Larcher at MipTV

Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, and Luis Duran, general manager for the streamer in Latin America, are among the latest top execs to be culled following the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia.

The two join veteran children’s TV exec Tom Ascheim, TNT, TBS and truTV general manager Brett Weitz and UK and Ireland chief Polly Cochrane as the latest high-profile departures from recently merged Warner Bros Discovery (WBD).

Both Larcher, who was a keynote speaker at MipTV last month, and Duran joined WarnerMedia from Middle Eastern broadcaster MBC Group in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and interactive at WBD, has led the shake-up, which will involve a transition period. In an internal memo seen by C21, Perrette also announced Meredith Gertler as leader of content strategy, scheduling and editorial/merchandising at WBD.

Gertler, formerly executive VP of content strategy and planning at HBO and HBO Max, will support both HBO and HBO Max’s content chief Casey Bloys and Perrette working across HBO and the media giant’s streaming products.

Meanwhile, Lisa Holme, group senior VP of content and commercial strategy at Discovery+, will move to report to Gertler, with Alison Farber, VP of strategy at WarnerMedia, moving under Holme along with the WarnerMedia podcast team of Hassan Chaudhry, Becky Rho and Michael Gluckstadt.

Perrette also confirmed the regional streaming leaders who will report to him and be responsible for ensuring “effective coordination and execution between the global functions and the local teams.” These are Leah Hooper for EMEA, Jason Monteiro for APAC, Juan Sola for Lat Am and Michael Bishara for North America.

They will also be part of the respective leadership teams of Priya Dogra and Kasia Kieli in EMEA, Clement Schwebig and James Gibbons in APAC and Fernando Medin in Lat Am.

The shake-up will also see the departure of WarnerMedia’s Sarah Lyons, executive VP of direct-to-consumer (D2C) global product management; Brad Wilson, executive VP of growth and revenue; and Jason Press, executive VP of D2C technology and programme management.

Significant changes are expected to continue 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.

Confirming the departures of Larcher, Duran, Lyons, Wilson and Press, Perrette said: “These are all extremely talented leaders, longstanding colleagues and friends to many of you and their contributions to the success of HBO Max cannot be overstated.

“Taking HBO Max from one to 61 countries and positioning the service quickly as one of the most in demand among consumers is an incredible accomplishment.

“We are incredibly well-positioned thanks to their leadership, the talented teams they have developed and all their incredible work. As another testament to their qualities as leaders and human beings, each of them has been very clear with me that they want to ensure as seamless a transition as possible over the coming weeks for the benefit of the teams and the belief in the incredible opportunity ahead as we bring HBO Max and Discovery+ together.”

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