The position for CEO over at WarnerMedia is still up for grabs, and it looks like AT&T is going after seasoned veterans to fill it. According to The Information, the company has approached former Hulu CEO Randy Freer and Hulu’s founding CEO Jason Kilar to take on the job. The position is currently being filled by John Stankey, who is simultaneously the president and COO of AT&T.
It makes sense that AT&T would recruit Freer and Kilar since a big component of the job would be to oversee the growth of HBO Max, which is set to launch in May. Kilar was Hulu’s original CEO and ran the streaming service from 2008 until the start of 2013. After leaving Hulu, he went on to launch a streaming service called Vessel, which offered early access to YouTube clips. However, the service didn’t scale and was sold to Verizon in 2016.
Freer, on the other hand, was a longtime executive at Fox before he joined the streamer in 2017. During his time as CEO at Hulu, the service saw exponential growth. He left after Disney took steps to integrate the service into its streaming division.
Last October, AT&T began assembling a top team of executives to work on HBO Max. The company revealed that HBO Max would be led by Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves, who reports to WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. Goncalves also leans on Andy Forssell, who currently serves as the executive vice president and general manager of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer division. Forssell also came from Hulu, serving as the senior vice president, content and distribution as well as acting CEO in 2013.
Other industry veterans who joined the team were former DirecTV executive Sarah Lyons, Jess Miller previously of DirecTV Now, former Hulu executive Katie Soo, former Warner Bros researcher Keith Camoosa and former Crunchyroll head of business intelligence Reid DeRamus.
Other potential candidates for WarnerMedia CEO include Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, who leads all news and sports at WarnerMedia, as well as Jeff Blackburn, Amazon’s SVP of business and corporate development, who took a yearlong sabbatical last summer, sources told The Information. It’s not clear whether or not AT&T has approached Blackburn.