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WarnerMedia Names Jason Kilar as New CEO

Stephanie Sengwe

After months of speculation, WarnerMedia has officially announced Jason Kilar as their new CEO, effective May 1. He will report to John Stankey, AT&T’s president and chief operating officer.

Kilar comes into the position with previous experience as the founding CEO of Hulu, a role he served from 2007 until 2013. He also held several leadership positions at Amazon from 1997 to 2006, including SVP of worldwide application software. 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.

“In partnership with this world-class team, I’m so excited for the opportunity to lean into the future at WarnerMedia,” said Kilar. “Stories well told have always mattered, and they matter even more in this challenging time for the world. It will be a privilege to invent, create and serve with so many talented people. May 1 can’t get here soon enough,” Kilar said in a statement.

In March, reports that WarnerMedia was pursuing Kilar for the position were revealed by The Information. At the time, it was stated that the company was also in talks with Randy Freer, who previously served as CEO for Hulu as well. It made sense that AT&T would be looking to recruit either Freer or Kilar since a big component of the CEO job at WarnerMedia would be to oversee the growth of HBO Max, which is set to launch in May.

Freer 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 helmed 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.