Warner Bros. Discovery Sets Out International Leadership Team, Puts Focus on Regional Heads
Warner Bros Discovery
Warner Bros. Discovery has set out its long-awaited international leadership team under Gerhard Zeiler.
Zeiler, as announced earlier this month, is the newly installed president of international for the merged company, and oversees the global channels business with a “dotted line” to international streaming lead JB Perrette. He previously held the same role for WarnerMedia, and now adds responsibility for Discovery’s international footprint.
In a staff memo, seen by Variety, Zeiler explained that the company is putting in place dedicated regional leads “to reflect the scale and complexity of the business which would, in turn, increase focus on key markets.”
“This results in a different geographical split to the pre-merger state which will also allow each of the regional leaders to more rapidly assess opportunities for growth and efficiency and to integrate the two companies quickly,” said Zeiler.
The restructure sees Priya Dogra, formerly the president of WarnerMedia Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (excluding China), now focused only on EMEA (excluding Poland). She will continue to be based in London, and will be responsible for integrating and operating the Discovery and WarnerMedia International orgs across the region.
Anil Jhingan, who is currently president and managing director for Discovery Asia Pacific, will take up a new role leading business development for the enlarged Warner Bros. Discovery group across all of the company’s international markets, as part of Bruce Campbell’s organization.
Meanwhile, James Gibbons — whose prior oversight included Discovery U.K. and Ireland as well as the Nordics — will now be president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand and Japan, reporting into Zeiler. He will continue to manage the Nordics region for an interim period of time, reporting into Dogra, while also transitioning leadership of Discovery U.K. and Ireland to Dogra.
Gibbons, who joined Discovery in 1999, will remain based in London in 2022, but will move back to Asia in early 2023.
Elsewhere, Kasia Kieli has been appointed president and managing director of Poland and CEO of TVN. In this role, she will look to grow Discovery’s assets in Poland and, according to Zeiler, “defend the leading position of the WBD-TVN group of channels in the country.”
As part of the reshuffle, Whit Richardson, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks for Latin America and a 20-year WarnerMedia veteran, is exiting the company, but will remain for a transition period. In his place, Fernando Medin has been named president and managing director for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic. He will remain based in São Paulo, overseeing key sports rights and a portfolio of channels across the region.
In addition, Clement Schwebig has been made president and managing director for South-East Asia (SEA), Korea and India. He will continue to be based in Singapore where he has been running the newly integrated WarnerMedia business operations since 2020.
Gillian Zhao, president of China for WarnerMedia, will continue to report to Zeiler in her current function. She has been in her role since 2016. Meanwhile, Tony Qiu, who is currently general manager and senior VP for Greater China and Southeast Asia and APAC direct-to-consumer lead for the Discovery assets, will report to Zeiler regarding his Greater China and DTC role and to Schwebig for his SEA responsibilities.
Andrew Georgiou continues as president and managing director for Warner Bros.
Discovery Sports Europe, based in London, and leading the sports business. He will retain his current portfolio which includes Eurosport, PlaySports Group (incl. Global Cycling Network), Golf portfolio (PGA Tour, GOLFTV and Golf Digest) and the Sports Events Business.
Robert Blair will lead the licensing business as president of WBD International Television Distribution, working together and being jointly responsible with each of the regional presidents for the licensing of all TV and film content.
Finally, Ronald Goes will continue as executive VP and head of international TV production leading the International Warner Bros. production business.
Zeiler said the restructure entailed “extremely difficult decisions.”
“Each of WM and Discovery should be proud of the leaders they’ve developed over the years,” said the executive. “As JB and I committed in our original note to you all, our decisions are the result of a thought-through process which included ensuring that the leadership team reflected the breadth of experience and talent across the two businesses. None of these decisions were easy or taken lightly.”
Variety's Manori Ravindran contributed to this post.