Rebekka Rockafeller, HBO’s senior VP of digital products, and Gilman Wong, senior VP of digital products and chief architect, have both left the premium network amid an ongoing restructuring at AT&T-owned WarnerMedia.
Their exit follows those of several well-established executives in departments that have been earmarked for consolidation as many of the previously separate operations of HBO and Turner come together. Senior leadership including President and Chief Revenue Officer Simon Sutton and EVP and Chief Digital Officer Diane Tryneski have recently departed the company. Longtime CEO Richard Plepler began the series of departures by stepping down in February.
The restructuring began in earnest in March, after the long-pending appeal by the Dept. of Justice was rejected by a federal court and the DOJ decided to end its 18-month challenge of AT&T’s $81 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
Of any of the three main divisions of WarnerMedia, HBO is feeling the effects in the most pronounced way, given that it has enjoyed a high degree of corporate autonomy throughout most of its nearly half-century of existence. Newly installed entertainment boss Bob Greenblatt and WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey have stressed the importance of eliminating silos between divisions.
The company has offered voluntary buyouts to employees who are at least 55 years old and have more than 10 years of tenure at HBO. Turner has extended a similar offer.
AT&T has been moving aggressively to achieve the cost efficiencies it long ago promised Wall Street as a benefit of the Time Warner deal while also paying down debt. At a peak of $170 billion, the company’s net debt has exceeded that of any U.S. company outside of the financial sector.
The Information had the first report about Rockafeller and Wong leaving the company.