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Executive who oversaw growth strategies at HBO, Cinemax resigns

Former Warner Bros Discovery executive Chris Defendis.
Former Warner Bros Discovery executive Chris Defendis. (Photo courtesy LinkedIn, Graphic by The Desk)

A Warner executive who once oversaw growth and revenue strategies at the premium movie brands HBO and Cinemax has resigned from Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), The Desk has learned.

Chris Defendis most recently served as WBD’s vice president of partner management, where he oversaw the company’s marketing and promotional initiatives that were designed to convince millions of television viewers to subscribe to HBO Max and tune in to CNN, TBS and other WarnerMedia cable networks.

“After a long tenure at HBO/WarnerMedia, it’s time for something new,” Defendis wrote in a lengthy social media post to his followers on Tuesday. “I grew up working with the best brands in the world and learning from the brightest minds in business. It was a phenomenal run, and I couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments we made and, more importantly, the relationships built.”

Defendis is the latest WBD executive to resign amid a corporate and product restructuring following Discovery’s blockbuster merger with WarnerMedia earlier this year — a point that he referenced in his note.

“I’m not alone on this journey, as the cuts have recently impacted other close colleagues at Warner Bros Discovery,” Defendis wrote. “Please keep them in mind for any excellent opportunities as well.”

It was not clear if Defendis had another job lined up or if he is taking some time to explore other opportunities. His departure comes less than two weeks after another top HBO executive, Jason Press, abruptly resigned.

The departures come less than a month after executives at Warner Bros Discovery announced plans to fully scrap HBO Max and its other flagship streaming service, Discovery Plus, by next year. In place of both services, a new streaming experience is being developed that will merge the Warner Bros and Discovery libraries. Titles from HBO as well as other networks like CNN, the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN are expected to be part of the new service, which has yet to be named.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).