Samuel Di Piazza Jr. will serve as the chairman of Warner Bros. Discovery following the close of the deal to combine the two media companies, AT&T announced.
Di Piazza, previously global CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers from 2002 until his retirement in 2009, spent 36 years working at PwC. He was among the seven board members of the combined WarnerMedia-Discovery that AT&T announced Tuesday. The Warner Bros. Discovery board of directors initially will comprise 13 members, seven appointed by AT&T and six by Discovery.
Following the approval of the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger by Discovery shareholders last week, the $43 billion deal is expected to close early in the second quarter.
The seven directors appointed by AT&T are: DiPiazza; Li Haslett Chen, founder and CEO of commerce and payments platform Narrativ; Richard Fisher, senior adviser to Barclays and former president/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Debra Lee, previously chair and CEO of BET Networks; Fazal Merchant, senior adviser to Sixth Street Partners; Paula Price, former CFO of Macy’s; and Geoff Yang, founding partner and managing director of venture-capital firm Redpoint Ventures.
DiPiazza, Lee and Yang currently serve on the AT&T board of directors and will resign those positions at the close of the Discovery transaction. Following their departure, AT&T expects to reduce the number of board directors from 13 to 10, “reflecting the company’s more focused business model.”
Discovery’s designated board members for the new entity, as previously announced, are: David Zaslav, who is set to become president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery; Robert Bennett, managing director of investment firm Hilltop Investments; John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, Liberty Broadband and Liberty Global; Paul Gould, managing director at Allen & Co.; Steven Miron, CEO of media company Advance/Newhouse Partnership; and Steven Newhouse, co-president of the Newhouse family’s Advance investment business. (Bennett, Malone, Miron and Gould have been Discovery directors since 2008; Zaslav joined the board in 2007.)
Current Discovery board members who are not joining Warner Bros. Discovery’s board are: chairman Bob Miron, ex-chairman of Chairman of Advance/Newhouse Communications and Bright House Networks; independent financial consultant Robert Beck; Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the RLJ Cos.; Ken Lowe, former chairman and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive; attorney Daniel Sanchez; Susan Swain, co-CEO and president of C-SPAN; and J. David Wargo, president of investment firm Wargo & Co.
AT&T CEO John Stankey said in a statement: “We are delighted to have assembled a diverse slate of world-class directors for the Warner Bros. Discovery board. These respected leaders bring a wealth of experience in finance, technology, media and entertainment, international trade, venture capital, and digital and direct-to-consumer platforms that is vitally important to the future of Warner Bros. Discovery. They are committed to the company’s success while providing best-in-class corporate governance.”
Zaslav added, “I look forward to working alongside and benefiting from the collective experience of this group of distinguished leaders to create and grow the world’s most dynamic media entertainment company and a top-tier competitor in streaming. This board brings diverse personal perspectives, strong track records and invaluable industry knowledge. Its stewardship will help establish the company as the premier creator of impactful storytelling across genres and platforms.”
(Pictured above: A placeholder logo for the new Warner Bros. Discovery released last year)