Jeffrey Schlesinger, Ron Sanders & Kim Williams Among Top Executive Departures In WarnerMedia Layoffs – Deadline
As part of realignment, leaving the company are Jeffrey R. Schlesinger President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution; Ron Sanders, President, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution & Home Entertainment and EVP, International Business Operations; and Kim Williams, EVP and Chief Financial Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.
They join Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer; Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV; as well as Keith Cocozza, EVP of Corporate Marketing and Communications, whose exits were announced Friday.
WarnerMedia Begins Layoffs In Latest Streamlining Effort
All in all, about 600 employees across multiple divisions are expected to be let go, starting today. Warner Bros Entertainment is believed to be heavily impacted.
“Jeff, Ron and Kim are all highly valued members of my senior leadership team, and we will be forever grateful for the many meaningful and lasting contributions each of them has made to Warner Bros,” said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of Warner Bros and newly announced head of WarnerMedia’s Studio and Networks Group. “I thank them all for their dedication and years of service, and wish them the very best in their next chapters.”
Distribution is an area that is typically vulnerable in consolidation; it was the first division to see top executive departures and major layoffs following the Disney-Fox merger.
Schlesinger, a 37-year Warner Bros/Lorimar veteran, was responsible for global distribution of Warner Bros, HBO and Turner content to all television platforms worldwide, including the sale of previously produced series and feature films to U.S. broadcast and cable outlets, domestic syndication and sales to SVOD and AVOD platforms. He has served in his current role since 2013.
“It’s been a great 37 year run, with 26 as president of International Television Distribution, spanning six mergers, millions of miles traveled, thousands of programs sold and billions of dollars generated. In the end, it took a global pandemic and a complete reorganization of the company for me to trip over the last hurdle,” Schlesinger said. “I hope to always be remembered as the only studio executive to ride into an International Screenings party at the studio on the back of an elephant in the ‘good old days.’ ”
Sanders, a 29-year Warner Bros veteran, oversaw global theatrical distribution and the home entertainment distribution operation.
“Warner Bros is known for being the most celebrated studio in history for good reason,” Sanders said. “The talent is unmatched, both on the creative and business sides, and I’m honored to have been entrusted to oversee a great portfolio of businesses around the world for the last 30 years.”
Williams was named EVP and CFO for Warner Bros Entertainment in January 2015. She was responsible for all financial activities of the company, including financial reporting, budgeting and planning.
“Warner Bros has a unique and wonderful history; heralded and iconic, it is one that I am proud to have been part of. It is also filled to the brim with the best and brightest. I will cherish my time at this great company,” she said.