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Hulu’s Kilar in as CEO at WarnerMedia to head HBO Max launch

Jason Kilar

WarnerMedia has appointed the former Amazon SVP and Hulu CEO Jason Kilar to head up the AT&T-owned media giant and its hotly anticipated streamer HBO Max.

Alongside the SVOD, which is due to launch on 1 May, Kilar will also oversee premium drama cabler HBO, Warner Bros., Otter Media and the Turner cable network, including TNT, TBS and CNN.

WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff – who joined from BBC Studios last year – and WarnerMedia’s chairman of news & sports Jeff Zucker all now report into Kilar.

He will report to John Stankey, AT&T’s president and chief operating officer, who had previously held the WarnerMedia CEO role on an interim basis following his promotion last year.

Kilar was CEO of Hulu from its start in 2007 until 2013 and before that worked at Amazon between 1997 and 2006 in various roles, including SVP of worldwide application software.

He was also co-founder and CEO of streaming service Vessel from 2013 to 2017, which was acquired then closed down by US telco giant Verizon. The exec has also served as a board member at DreamWorks Animation and Univision Communications.

Stankey described Kilar as “a dynamic executive with the right skill set to lead WarnerMedia into the future” whose “experience in media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer video streaming and advertising is the perfect fit for WarnerMedia.”

The AT&T boss added: “Our team led by Bob Greenblatt, Ann Sarnoff, Gerhard Zeiler and Jeff Zucker has done an amazing job establishing our brands as leaders in the hearts and minds of consumers. Adding Jason to the talented WarnerMedia family as we launch HBO Max in May gives us the right management team to strategically position our leading portfolio of brands, world-class talent and rich library of intellectual property for future growth.”

Kilar added: “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. 1 May can’t get here soon enough.”