AT&T is rolling up its ad-tech business Xandr into WarnerMedia, a little more than a month after its CEO Brian Lesser abruptly resigned.
WarnerMedia CFO Gerhard Zeiler will now be in charge of all advertising across AT&T. Xandr’s chief business officer Kirk McDonald will continue to lead Xandr, reporting directly to Zeiler.
“We are in unprecedented times that amplify the priority across both WarnerMedia and Xandr, to deliver valuable results and outcomes for our agencies and clients,” said Zeiler. “Now more than ever, we need to simplify advertising and further our marketplace capabilities for our customers. This is done through one holistic conversation that spans premium content and trusted environments, alongside proven and advanced ad capabilities.”
The combination comes a month ahead of the launch of HBO Max, which will debut May 27. Although it will initially be ad-free, WarnerMedia plans to roll out a cheaper, ad-supported version in 2021. AT&T had already been moving Xandr and WarnerMedia closer together; the two were supposed to hold a joint upfront presentation next month before the coronavirus scuttled those plans.
Xandr was acquired by AT&T in 2018, when it was called AppNexus.
“Xandr and WarnerMedia have always worked hand-in-hand to benefit our incredible advertising partners,” stated McDonald. “This is the next logical step to help empower our clients and continue to ‘Make Advertising Matter’ for consumers. I look forward to the work ahead of us as one powerful combination.”