Jason Kilar
Julie Cahill Photography
United States




Not much had been heard from Kilar since Vessel, the YouTube competitor he cofounded, was sold and dissolved into Verizon Communications in October 2016. Then in April 2020 he was hired as CEO of WarnerMedia, just as it was preparing to launch HBO Max, its new streaming service. It’s not Kilar’s first OTT rodeo, as he was named CEO of Hulu shortly after its 2007 launch, and over the next five years built it into a worthy Netflix competitor. Since coming aboard WarnerMedia, he’s rocked the boat with extensive executive shuffling and layoffs as recently as November as the company reorients itself to fit a more streaming-centric future (with CEO John Stankey openly praising Kilar’s strategic focus in October). Then, amid months of struggle for film exhibitors due to pandemic-related theater closures, he unveiled a plan in December to release every film from Warner Bros.’ 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on HBO Max, free-of-charge to subscribers, a move that sent shockwaves across the industry.


  • WarnerMedia
  • Hulu
  • Vessel


  • University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (NC, USA)
  • Harvard Business School (USA)

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How Jason Kilar Became Hollywood's Most Feared CEO

How Jason Kilar Became Hollywood's Most Feared CEO

It's only fitting that Variety Intelligence Platform closes the year on the same note on which we opened: Jason Kilar.When VIP launched at the beginning of April, AT&T's WarnerMedia had just made the bold move to bring in a new CEO. We noted then, "Surely AT&T knows that Kilar is not the kind of executive who is going to stay in his place and mindlessly toe the line ... he amply proved that at Hulu, and that rebel streak may...


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