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Warner Bros Discovery unveils sweeping management shake-up across EMEA

Newly merged entertainment giant Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) has unveiled a string of senior appointments for its EMEA business, with country managers installed across the region.

Priya Dogra

Alessandro Araimo has been named general manager for Italy, Spain and Portugal, having previously been exec VP and general manager for Discovery in Italy.

Pierre Branco becomes general manager for France, Benelux and Africa, promoted from country manager for WarnerMedia in France, Benelux, Middle East and Africa and head of affiliates and ad Sales for EMEA.

Jamie Cooke takes the post of general manager for CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean and Turkey after most recently overseeing Discovery activities across CEE and Middle East & Africa.

Hannes Heyelmann has been named WBD’s general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, having been exec VP programming for WarnerMedia across EMEA.

Finally, Antonio Ruiz becomes general manager for the UK and Ireland. He was most recently GM for Discovery in Spain, France and Portugal.

The appointments, made by new WBD EMEA (excluding Poland) president and MD Priya Dogra, come after Christina Sulebakk was yesterday appointed general manager for the Nordics.

“My focus has been to build a senior team that harnesses and balances the experience, perspective and talent from across the Discovery and WarnerMedia businesses,” said Dogra.

“Each leader will be responsible for continuing the necessary transitions into new means of distribution and new forms of growth, as well as integrating our two organisations into one team, with one clear strategy and a common, respectful culture.”

Other execs who will continue as part of Dogra’s leadership team are:

  • Vanessa Brookman, who remains as EMEA senior VP Kids and Family, and also takes on responsibility for Adult Swim across the region with a dual reporting line to Michael Ouweleen, who leads Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang.
  • Antony Root, who continues his responsibilities for original production for HBO Max across EMEA as well as original production for the WarnerMedia general entertainment channels in Germany, France and Spain.
  • Ragnhild Thorbech, who carries on overseeing programming and acquisitions for HBO Max EMEA.
  • Myriam Lopez-Otazu, who continues guiding investment, planning and prioritisation for the Discovery linear channels and streamer Discovery+, working with the territory general managers and coordinating with the US programming team.
  • Qaisar Rafique, who becomes lead for commercial strategy, expanding the role he played at Discovery to the broader portfolio.

As previously announced, Leah Hooper is regional lead for streaming in EMEA as part of JB Perrette’s leadership team and is an integral part of Dogra’s senior team.

The following executives have decided to step down: Sylvia Rothblum, country manager, Germany, Austria and Switzerland for WarnerMedia; Susanne Aigner, general manager for Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Benelux for Discovery; Thomas Ciampa, country Manager for Italy, Spain and Portugal for WarnerMedia; and Lydia Fairfax, senior VP of commercial partnerships, EMEA for Discovery.

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