WarnerMedia executives leaving ahead of Discovery merger

(Image courtesy Discovery Communications, Graphic by The Desk)

Several WarnerMedia executives are expected to resign this week as the entertainment company moves closer to its merger with Discovery, Inc.

At least nine top-level executives within AT&T’s WarnerMedia will step down from their roles, including HBO Max’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Forssell, Chief Technology Officer Richard Tom and Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Biry.

The executives are expected to be replaced by their counterparts at Discovery. The news comes one day after WarnerMedia’s Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar announced his intention to step down as late as this Friday.

Last year, WarnerMedia parent company AT&T announced plans to spin off the entertainment subsidiary into a separate company, one that would merge with Discovery to form Warner Bros Discovery.  Discovery’s current chief executive, David Zaslav, will remain in control of the combined company, with AT&T’s shareholders owning a majority stake in it.

Ann Sarnoff, the chairwoman and chief executive of Warner Bros., is expected to depart as part of the merger, which was expected to occur later this month but could be finalized by the end of the business day on Friday.

Zaslav has not yet said who will replace the departing executives, though it is widely believed their roles will be filled by people who are currently in similar positions at Discovery. Zaslav has no intention to appoint someone to replace Kilar, according to a report.

Other executives who are expected to depart include Chief Inclusion Officer and Executive Vice President for Communications Christy Haubegger; Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jim Cumming and WarnerMedia’s General Counsel Jim Meza.