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WarnerMedia’s Kilar to stay on through year’s end

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar is pictured in an undated photograph supplied by the company. (Photo: AT&T/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

AT&T WarnerMedia’s chief executive Jason Kilar will stay on at the company through at least the end of the year, the manager said at a team meeting on Thursday.

The proclamation lays to rest — at least for the moment — Kilar’s future at the company, which has been in question since AT&T announced plans earlier this month to spin off its WarnerMedia content arm into a separate company that will eventually merge with Discovery Communications.

The fused company will be led by David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery, which fueled speculation over whether Kilar would remain at AT&T in a different position or transition out of the company. Last week, reports surfaced that indicated Kilar had hired a legal team to chart his exit from AT&T.

On Thursday, Kilar said his short-term plan was to continue on as the head of WarnerMedia, which counts Warner Bros., CNN, HBO and Turner Sports among its properties.

“My plan and my focus is to remain here in my CEO role at WarnerMedia,” Kilar told employees. “I am not thinking right now about post-merger. There will be a time to consider that topic in 2022.”

Kilar said the company had “unfinished business,” which likely includes launching a cheaper version of HBO Max, the company’s blockbuster streaming service.

“The work of the next year can and should be extremely fulfilling as the world continues to see what we are capable of doing,” Kilar said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Executives at AT&T and Discovery have been full of praise for Kilar, but the leaders of both companies have been relatively quiet as to whether he will have a role at either once the merger takes place.

The merger is expected to go through next year.