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Warner Bros. Names Ann Sarnoff as CEO


WarnerMedia appointed Ann Sarnoff as the new chair and CEO of Warner Bros. She will report to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.


Sarnoff currently serves as president, BBC Studios Americas (formerly BBC Worldwide Americas). She brings more than 30 years of business and media experience to the role of overseeing worldwide operations at Warner Bros., which includes the production, marketing, and distribution of film, television and interactive entertainment. Sarnoff comes to Warner Bros. with an established track record spanning an array of prominent media and entertainment businesses from Viacom to the NBA to Dow Jones to the BBC. She has also worked in close collaboration with talent and business partners for many years to develop effective engagement strategies for global audiences.


“I am delighted Ann is joining the WarnerMedia team and excited to work side by side with such a talented and accomplished individual. She brings a consistent and proven track record of innovation, creativity and business results to lead an incredibly successful studio to its next chapter of growth,” said Stankey. “Ann has shown the ability to innovate and grow revenues and has embraced the evolution taking place in our industry. I am confident she will be a great cultural fit for WarnerMedia and that our employees will embrace her leadership, enthusiasm and passion for our business.”


“It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history,” said Sarnoff. “Warner Bros. has been an industry leader for decades and is known for creating many of the most iconic film, television and gaming properties. I accept this position excited by the opportunity to work with the most accomplished executives and teams in media, and confident about carrying this incredible heritage forward with them.”


As president of BBC Studios Americas, Sarnoff is responsible for driving growth and profit across the company’s diversified business division in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. She oversaw L.A. Productions, linear and digital program sales and co-productions, home entertainment, and licensing. She also led efforts to amplify BBC Studios’ global brands Doctor WhoTop Gear, and the natural history brand BBC Earth. As board chair of BritBox, Sarnoff has guided the development and growth of the direct-to-consumer service which offers U.S. and Canadian customers the largest collection of British television programming.


“Ann’s contribution to BBC Studios has been immense,” said Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Studios. “She has grown our core business as well as driving significant innovation, including the successful creation of BritBox, the growth of BBC America alongside our partner AMCN, the launch of new channels like BBC Earth in Canada, and major new content and production deals. We will miss her generosity and her spirit of collaboration, and we wish her great success at Warner Bros.”


During a leadership transition, Warner Bros. was managed by an interim team of leaders made up of Toby Emmerich, chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; Peter Roth, president and chief content officer, Warner Bros. Television Group; and Kim Williams, executive vice-president and CFO, Warner Bros.


“I want to thank Toby, Peter and Kim for stepping up during this transition and making sure Warner Bros. didn’t miss a beat. Their commitment to delivering operationally and creatively is evident in our results over the last several months. It’s clear that Ann becomes part of a team that is second-to-none,” Stankey added.


Sarnoff will be based in Los Angeles and will officially join the company later this summer.