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Original Hulu Chief Jason Kilar Named WarnerMedia CEO

He replaces John Stankey, who remains AT&T’s president and COO

WarnerMedia has named Jason Kilar as its new CEO, the company announced Wednesday. Beginning May 1, he will take over for John Stankey, who will remain as president and COO of parent company AT&T.

Kilar was the first chief executive of the streaming service Hulu from its inception in 2007 until 2013. In 2015, he co-founded the streaming service Vessel (which shuttered in late 2016 five days after Verizon acquired it).

Kilar will report to Stankey, who ran WarnerMedia as CEO after AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner in 2018, and reformed it into WarnerMedia. Last fall, he was promoted to COO of the telecom, leading to speculation he could be set to take over for AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in the near future.

Kilar takes over WarnerMedia a month ahead of the launch of its HBO Max streaming service, which will debut sometime in May and cost $14.99 a month, making it among the more expensive options in the fast-growing streaming space.

“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,” Stankey said in a statement.

“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, he added. “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.”

In his own statement, Kilar expressed excitement about the new challenge. “In partnership with this world-class team, I’m so excited for the opportunity to lean into the future at WarnerMedia,” he said. “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.”