Hulu’s founding CEO Jason Kilar has been named CEO of WarnerMedia, effective May 1, putting an end to longstanding speculation over who would fill the post and just ahead of the launch of streaming service HBO Max.
He will report to John Stankey, the chief operating officer of WarnerMedia’s parent AT&T who has held both roles since he was promoted to COO post in September.
Kilar, 48, arrives just in time the shepherd HBO Max into the streaming world in May, a hotly-anticipated moment. He also enters at a particularly complex time for the media and entertainment industry, and the entire global economy, as programmers, advertisers and viewers and grope their way through the coronavirus pandemic.
New WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar Talks HBO Max Expansion, Importance Of Tech, Future Of Linear TV & Theatrical Windows
He will oversee an executive team including WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, WarnerMedia News and Sports head Jeff Zucker, Warner Bros CEO Ann Sarnoff and WarnerMedia chief revenue officer Gerhard Zeiler.
WarnerMedia houses HBO, Warner Bros., the Turner cable networks led by TNT, TBS and CNN, and Otter Media. After Stankey’s promotion last fall, succession at the top of the division initially focused on internal candidates, like Zucker and Greenblatt but subsequently shifted to outside contenders. Kilar emerged as a leading candidate for the CEO job in early March. The appointment to the top post of a wunderkind of early streaming indicates the priority it is for the company.
“Jason is a dynamic executive with the right skill set to lead WarnerMedia into the future. His experience in media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer video streaming and advertising is the perfect fit for WarnerMedia, and I am excited to have him lead the next chapter of WarnerMedia’s storied success,” said Stankey.
“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,” he added.
“In partnership with this world-class team, I’m so excited for the opportunity to lean into the future at WarnerMedia,” said Kilar. “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. May 1st can’t get here soon enough.”
Kilar was CEO of Hulu from its start in 2007 until 2013. He served in several leadership positions at Amazon from 1997 to 2006, including as SVP of Worldwide Application Software.
Previously, Kilar was co-founder and CEO of video streaming service Vessel from 2013 to 2017. He served as a board member at DreamWorks Animation (2013-2016) and Univision Communications (2016-2020).
He holds a bachelor’s degree (journalism & business) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.