HBO CTO Otto Berkes Resigns: Read His Internal Memo

Chief Technology Officer explains his decision to leave the premium network in a note to his staff

HBO’s Chief Technology Officer Otto Berkes has resigned.

The executive explained his decision in a memo sent to staff on Tuesday, which was obtained by TheWrap. Berkes cited a “change in direction” in how the network will deliver its over-the-top content to market in coming months.

“Recently HBO’s management decided to partner with a third party to assist HBO in bringing our OTT service to market in 2015,” he wrote. “This is a change in direction from what I planned with HBO and the approach will not utilize my overall capabilities. Therefore, I feel that this is the right time for me to move on from HBO so that I am able to fully pursue my passion building world-class technology teams, products, and businesses.”

The CTO’s resignation comes on the same day that a report surfaced that the premium network had decided to outsource it’s OTT delivery system, which it plans to use in order to deliver HBO GO as a standalone service in coming months.

The company struck a deal to use external technology acquired from MLB Advanced, which already provides streaming technology for companies like the WWE, rather than one developed in-house, according to Forbes.

The report, which cited sources familiar with the situation, went on to say HBO GO would become available as a standalone service in April 2015.

This comes after HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced intentions for a standalone service on Oct. 15 at an investor meeting for Time Warner Inc.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” he told investors. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO… So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States.”

Plepler foreshadowed the possibility of introducing external business partners during the same presentation.

“We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners,” he continued. “All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

Berkes took over the role as HBO’s CTO in 2012. Forbes’ Tuesday report said he had brought a large team in to work on the project, building what their insiders referred to as “a Napoleonic empire” within the network.

Read Otto’s entire statement below:

Almost four years ago I moved to New York for the opportunity to build something truly transformative for HBO’s business and the media industry. And we have done that. HBO has been invested in building out its streaming platform since the initial launch of HBO GO in 2010. This investment, which includes the creation of a Seattle software development center, has enabled HBO GO to serve many millions of customers and to grow to be one of the most popular streaming services in the U.S.

Recently HBO’s management decided to partner with a third party to assist HBO in bringing our OTT service to market in 2015. This is a change in direction from what I planned with HBO and the approach will not utilize my overall capabilities. Therefore, I feel that this is the right time for me to move on from HBO so that I am able to fully pursue my passion building world-class technology teams, products, and businesses.

I am incredibly proud of everything that the entire technology group has achieved together over the years.

My best wishes to the team and for HBO’s future success.

–Otto–

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