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WarnerMedia’s Jason Kilar confirms he will step down at close of Discovery merger

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar will leave his post once the company’s merger with Discovery is complete, he confirmed on Tuesday.

Jason Kilar

In an internal memo sent to staff, Kilar said: “With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing close, now is the right time to share with each of you that I will be departing this amazing company.

“There are many feelings one could have in a moment like this, but for me there are none bigger, or more lasting, than the feelings of gratitude and love that I have for this team, this company and this mission. I’ve never been more fulfilled professionally. I’ve never been happier professionally.

“This team – and what we’ve built together – are the reasons for that. We’re leading the industry creatively. We’ve elevated technology, product, and design to the highest levels in the company. We’re operating as one team, proudly and successfully going direct to consumers across the globe. It has been deeply gratifying to lean into the future alongside each of you and to do so with conviction.”

Kilar’s departure had been widely rumoured since the blockbuster merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia was first revealed last spring, with Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav set to take the reins of the combined entity.

The deal has attained all regulatory approvals and is scheduled to close imminently. The mega-merger will see AT&T spin off WarnerMedia and combine it with Discovery. AT&T will receive around US$43bn in a combination of cash, debt securities and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. Meanwhile, AT&T shareholders will receive a 71% stake in the new company and Discovery shareholders will receive the remaining 29%.

Kilar, who is the former boss of US streamer Hulu, was named CEO of WarnerMedia in spring 2020. His remit included oversight of Warner Bros, HBO, streaming service HBO Max and Turner’s cable channels.

“Leading this team has been the honour of my lifetime. My heart is so full and I am beyond thankful to each of you. There is no better team on the planet, and I will savour every last step as I wander the lot in Burbank several more times this week, with this team on my mind, always,” he said.

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