Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Report: WarnerMedia's Next CEO Could Be Jeff Zucker

Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, is now the leading — if not the only — internal candidate being considered to become chief executive of WarnerMedia, the new conglomeration owned by AT&T that includes Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting, according to five high-level WarnerMedia sources, reportsd Dylan Byers at NBC News.  He is currently the head of news and sports for WarnerMedia.

Jeff Zucker
AT&T, which is trying to fend off an activist investor and figure out its executive succession plan, could still tap someone from outside the company. But the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Zucker has emerged as the one internal name to take the WarnerMedia CEO job if its current chief, John Stankey, becomes CEO of AT&T.

Selecting Zucker to lead WarnerMedia would present significant risks for AT&T, both because he had a troubled tenure at NBCUniversal and because of his relationship with President Donald Trump, all five sources said. Still, in an industry where experienced and decisive leaders are hard to come by, Zucker could be a powerful force to lead WarnerMedia in a fiercely competitive Hollywood landscape.

AT&T’s executive succession plan remains in some doubt. Elliott Management, the activist hedge fund that owns about $3 billion worth of AT&T stock, has argued that the company’s leadership has made numerous missteps, including the $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner (since renamed WarnerMedia) that brought Zucker and the rest of the media giant under AT&T.

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