WarnerMedia Hires Ex-Hulu CTO Richard Tom as Tech Chief, as Jeremy Legg Moves to AT&T Communications

Richard Tom

Newly installed WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has tapped Richard Tom — who was Kilar’s chief technology officer at Hulu and startup Vessel — to be CTO at the AT&T-owned media company.

With the move, Jeremy Legg, WarnerMedia’s previous CTO, has joined AT&T Communications as EVP and CTO reporting to Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications.

Tom, who reports directly to Kilar, will oversee WarnerMedia’s technology and operations organization including technology strategy, platform development and operations as well as shared services across the company. His purview includes HBO Max, the company’s streaming-media service that debuted last week. In addition, the technology teams at Xandr, AT&T’s advertising unit, now report to Tom.

“Richard is a rare bird in that he brings deep technical chops, a dogged customer focus, clear and bold vision, and a magnetism that attracts other world-class builders to him,” Kilar said in announcing Tom’s hire. “WarnerMedia’s future will be as much about technology as it will be about storytelling and having Rich report to me as our technical leader strongly signals that.”

Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Tom served as an adviser and consultant for tech-focused consumer and business-to-business companies, as well as venture-backed startups.

At Hulu, he built and led the technical infrastructure in the streaming service’s early days, before leaving in 2013 with Kilar to co-found Vessel, a hybrid ad-supported/subscription short-form video service whose model was to provide early access to videos from top influencers and content companies. Vessel failed to get traction and the company was acquired by Verizon in 2016, after which Tom served as the telco’s CTO of digital entertainment for about two years.

“Having been a part of the early innings of online video, it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to redefine the future again with Jason and the WarnerMedia team,” Tom said in a statement, adding, “It’s really fun to think about how technology will continue to help innovate the way WarnerMedia informs and inspires through amazing storytelling.”

Legg, prior to his appointment as CTO of WarnerMedia in December 2018, worked at Turner Broadcasting for over 14 years, most recently as chief technology officer.

Regarding Legg’s move to AT&T, Kilar said, “Jeremy, through his leadership of the technology organization, has had such a positive and material impact on WarnerMedia, with last week’s launch of HBO Max being just the most recent example.”