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WBD international distribution president Robert Blair to leave

Robert Blalr, the president of international distribution at Warner Bros Discovery. (Courtesy photo)
Robert Blalr, the president of international distribution at Warner Bros Discovery. (Courtesy photo)

Robert Blair, the top executive in charge of Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) international television distribution, is exiting the company after more than two decades.

Blair’s departure was announced in a memo penned by WBD International President Gerhard Zeiler and circulated among employees this week.

In the memo, Zeiler said Blair will leave the company by the end of the summer, and that his departure was directly related to a restructuring of WBD’s business that will see his responsibilities delegated to other executives. His position will not be filled, but eliminated entirely, once Blair leaves the company.

“Last year, we unveiled a new organizational structure for WBD International, which we believed best positioned us for success at that time,” Zeiler wrote in the memo. “But we also acknowledged that in an ever-changing industry and market, we would need to continue to evolve in a thoughtful and strategic way, along with the climate around us.”

Zeiler said that, seven months into 2023, “we are at another inflection point, and one where the global economy has not rebounded as quickly as we had hoped.”

Blair’s departure is a consequence of that outcome, though Zeiler cautioned that it shouldn’t be viewed as “[a] reflection of his performance, but rather a shift we need to make to continue to refine our efficiency and cost structure.”

Blair joined Warner Bros Television in 1998, serving as its executive vice president of content distribution while based in the United Kingdom. He remained with the Warner Bros subsidiary after it exchanged hands numerous times, to include the sale of the company to AOL and AT&T and its most-recent merger with Discovery, Inc.

During his time, Blair oversaw global licensing deals involving some of Warner Bros’ top television franchises, including “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones” and the Game of Thrones spinoff “House of the Dragon.” Some of those licensing agreements involved working with competitors like Comcast’s Sky Group and Disney’s Hotstar, which secured localized distribution rights to Warner Bros Television and HBO content in various regions.

“Robert’s contribution to the company in his 25 years has been outstanding and can be measured in several billions of dollars of sales contracts he made possible every single year,” Zeiler said. “Despite being known as a tough negotiator, he is respected by all of his clients that he dealt with.”