WarnerMedia has initiated a new round of layoffs.
In a memo circulated Tuesday morning, CEO Jason Kilar wrote, “Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team. This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations. Starting today in North America, we will be sharing which jobs are being eliminated and which roles have changed.”
News of the cuts comes weeks after the Wall Street Journal first reported that the company was looking to cut costs by as much as 20% and potentially lay off thousands of workers. Sources tell Variety that the number of jobs affected will be lower than that story and subsequent reports indicated, affecting 5-7% of its total workforce.
The company comprising what were once largely autonomous business units Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting has undergone several waves of layoff since its acquisition by AT&T was completed in 2018. That deal left the telecom giant saddled with $151 billion in debt.
Kilar has set a company-wide town hall for Wednesday to discuss the latest restructuring.
A veteran of Hulu and Amazon, Kilar came aboard as the new CEO of WarnerMedia in April, amid a transition that saw predecessor John Stankey move up to the chief executive spot at AT&T. Kilar moved quickly to enact significant structural changes. In August, top executives Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, tasked with overseeing content for the company’s nascent HBO Max streaming service, were ousted.
AT&T reported last month that HBO and HBO Max had reached a combined 38 million subscribers, exceeding the company’s year-end goal of 36 million.
Read the full memo from Kilar below:
This is a very painful email to write. And for a number of you reading this, I realize it will be even more painful to receive. For this, I am sorry.
In August, I first shared news about how we were going to meaningfully change the organizational structure of WarnerMedia (which entailed, among other items, simplifying how we organize our entertainment studios, elevating HBO Max, and consolidating our commercial activities into one organization). Many of you have patiently waited to hear how the reorganization would affect you personally, which is both uncomfortable and stressful. Reducing this period of uncertainty was one of the many reasons we pushed so hard to get through this work as quickly and as thoughtfully as possible, although it probably didn’t feel fast enough. I want to thank you all for continuing to contribute your best, despite this challenging period and the additional pressure of everything else that has been going on in the world.
I’ve previously shared how critical it is for us to evolve how we operate in the context of best serving customers. As I mentioned a few months ago, this entails simplifying how we are organized, partnering with the very best storytellers, and leaning into world class product and technology as we share our stories directly with audiences across the globe. Our journey entails continuing to excel in our large, core businesses while at the same time investing in emerging businesses where we have the opportunity to meaningfully delight customers.
Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team. This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations. Starting today in North America, we will be sharing which jobs are being eliminated and which roles have changed. We are continuing to review proposed changes in other countries across our non-US businesses, the timing of which will vary according to local regulatory requirements. Nothing about this is easy. But please know, these reductions are not in any way a reflection of the quality of the team members impacted, nor their work. It is simply a function of the changes I believe we must make in order to best serve customers. For those impacted, we will be offering severance and healthcare packages, in addition to professional services and team member assistance programs.
While I anticipate that organizationally, things will settle down materially in the weeks and months to come (we’ve worked hard to make this a process with a beginning, middle and an end), I don’t want to suggest that our future is static. Rather, our future is about inventing ever better ways to move the world through story … which entails embracing change. I have every confidence in this world class team to do just that.
Please join me in a Town Hall tomorrow at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT where I will try and answer as many of your questions as possible. You can start to send your questions here.
To our colleagues who are leaving, I wish there were words to lessen today’s pain. Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today’s news does not change that. I am extremely thankful for all that you have done for this team and this mission. I hope that at some point you will look back on all of it with immense pride.
Until then, please stay well and safe.