Warner Bros. Discovery rejigs leadership in Germany

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has unveiled its new-look team in Germany, with veteran exec Alberto Horta among those to depart.

Horta had been VP of commercial development at WBD and led distribution, advertising and digital operations, as well as managing Germany’s Tele 5 channel.

He had been with Discovery for 15 years, initially working for Eurosport, which was acquired by Discovery in 2015. He then became deputy MD of Discovery in Germany in 2016, before taking up his most recent role several years later.

Alberto Horta

Horta’s exit comes after the departures in June of Sylvia Rothblum, who oversaw Germany, Austria and Switzerland for WarnerMedia, and Susanne Aigner, who was SVP & GM for Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Benelux at Discovery.

New-look team

Hannes Heyelmann now leads the WBD operation across Germany, Austria and Switzerland as GM, having previously been EVP of programming for WarnerMedia across EMEA.

Heyelmann’s team includes Marion Rathmann, who is responsible for programming on all streamers, as well as free and pay TV channels. Her remit includes local unscripted productions for Discovery+, which is to be merged with HBO Max.

Anke Greifeneder retains oversight of originals for Warner TV stations such as TNT, the network behind hit German gangster drama Four Blocks, and HBO Max – although the latter has not launched in Germany because of a long-standing output deal between HBO and Sky.

Elsewhere, Matthias Heinze is responsible for distribution and partnerships; Susanne Reiter leads marketing; Steffen Schier oversees theatrical distribution; Magdalena Prostede has a remit across theatrical production; and Markus Spangler is responsible for advertising.

Heyelmann said he had spoken “to many executives” from Discovery and WarnerMedia before making his decision “to gain an insight into the numerous projects, diverse processes, tasks and workflows.”

He added: “I have always been impressed by the commitment, creativity and professionalism of our managers and teams. Today I am pleased to announce the management team who, together with their respective teams, have supported me in the successful positioning and future growth of Warner Bros . will support Discovery in GSA.”

The departing Horta said he was leaving “on friendly terms” to pursue a “new career path.” His next move is not yet known.

WBD is in the process of making deep cuts across Europe, with the originals division led by HBO Max EMEA chief Antony Root set to be closed by the end of the year, as revealed by TBI.

The company confirmed its senior leadership team for the UK & Ireland last week, to be headed up by new general manager Antonio Ruiz. He was appointed to his role in June, reporting into EMEA president and MD Priya Dogra.

As part of that restructure, long-time Discovery exec Simon Downing, head of factual and SVP of marketing, is stepping down, while 25-year WarnerMedia veteran Charlie Cubbon, head of commercial development, is also exiting.

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