Ken Werner, the president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, will retire at the end of the year, it was announced Tuesday. He will serve as a consultant after retiring.
David Decker was named executive vice president of WBDTD shortly after the news of Werner’s retirement, adding oversight of station sales to his responsibilities overseeing domestic television sales to pay, cable, D2 and on-demand platforms. Rick Meril, executive vice president & general sales manager, WBDTD, will now report to Decker.
“David has done a great job of dramatically growing our multiplatform business over the last three years,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution. “His combination of strategic thinking, smart salesmanship and strong leadership are a true asset and he’s ready to take the next step. Having worked side by side with Ken for many years, enables us to have a seamless transition in our domestic television distribution business as we begin the new year.”
“I have had a charmed career; fortunate to work at leading companies, along-side immensely talented colleagues, representing the most compelling content in a business that is always changing,” Werner said of his retirement in a statement Tuesday. “I leave Warner Bros. with great pride in what my teams have accomplished, beginning with building the distribution foundation for the fifth broadcast network (The WB) through to the last seven years as we asserted a leadership role in developing the on-demand marketplace with precedent-setting innovative deals.”
“I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to represent the greatest TV and motion picture library in the world and am forever indebted to my WBDTD team, the larger Warner Bros. family, clients, competitors, friends and my family,” he continued.
“Ken has led our domestic television distribution business with great success to many record-setting years,” added Schlesinger. “He and his team are industry leaders and have achieved these results with hard work, great salesmanship and innovation. We will miss Ken but wish him the best in retirement; his contributions will continue to be felt for many years to come.”
Werner was named the WBDTD president in 2006, overseeing local television station distribution of first-run and off-network syndicated series and theatrical motion pictures. By 2008, Werner was also responsible for the pay, cable, satellite and broadcast network sales. He oversaw the distribution of first-run series like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Real,” “TMZ,” “TMZ Live,” “Extra,” “Judge Mathis” and “The People’s Court” and current off-network programs include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Friends,” “Mom,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike & Molly,” and “2 Broke Girls.”
Werner joined WBDTD in 1997, and previously served as EVP of distribution for The WB Network. Before that, he was senior vice president, strategic planning and business development at CBS, Inc., after spending eight years at the Walt Disney Company, where he served as senior vice president of Walt Disney Television. He held senior business affairs positions at Columbia Pictures Television and Viacom Enterprises in the 1980s.