HBO Max Chief Andy Forssell Exits WarnerMedia Ahead of Discovery Merger Close (EXCLUSIVE)

Andy Forssell
AP/Invision for Fullscreen

HBO Max executive vice president and general manager Andy Forssell is leaving WarnerMedia ahead of the close of the company’s merger with Discovery, which is now eyed as early as Friday, Variety has learned.

News of Forssell’s exit follows two of his notable colleagues: WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and studios and networks group chairman and CEO Ann Sarnoff.

As Variety previously reported, insiders first thought the transaction between Discovery and WarnerMedia’s current owner AT&T would be formally completed on April 11, leading to the creation of new company Warner Bros. Discovery. Two sources with knowledge of the situation, however, say the merger is now expected to finalize by the end of the week. Current Discovery CEO David Zaslav will serve as president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery.

Named to the position in May 2019, Forssell led the HBO Max operating business unit at WarnerMedia, reporting directly to Kilar. Forssell and his team were responsible for the product, marketing, consumer engagement and operations of HBO Max, including the HBO Max ad-supported version and the platform’s international rollout, which kicked off in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean in Summer 2021, followed by its first European launches in the Nordics and Spain last fall.

Forssell previously helped build another WarnerMedia company, Otter Media, where he served as the company’s chief operating officer.

Last year, all three ousted executives — Kilar, Sarnoff and Forssell — sat with Variety to discuss a hectic year in which the entirety of the Warner Bros. Picture Group theatrical slate was released concurrently in cineplexes and on HBO Max. Many decried the decision at the time, though it netted 73.8 million subscribers for HBO Max by the end of the 2021.

“We could be louder,” Forssell said of the success, “which is one of the many reasons why I love getting to do what I do. Ann and Andy are humble, I’m humble, and sometimes It takes a little bit of a nudge to get us to lean in and ring that bell.”

Forssell began his career as a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army, followed by 10 years at Siebel Systems in a product, sales and general management roles.