Former Warner Bros. CEO Jeff Bewkes has expressed disappointment with the way AT&T has interfered with creatives and not left them alone.
Former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes does not keep his displeasure at AT&T management of Warner Bros. hidden. In 2016, AT&T began talks to acquire Time Warner which, after two years, became official on June 14, 2018. AT&T renamed the company WarnerMedia and former CEO Bewkes, who had been CEO of Time Warner since 2008, resigned. of the company and was prosecuted. by AT&T’s John Stankey as CEO.
In the three years since AT&T took control of WB, the company has undergone major upheavals. Longtime HBO executive Richard Plepler resigned in 2019 because he would have had less autonomy after the AT&T merger. In August 2020, just days before the very first DC FanDome event, WarnerMedia laid off a third of the DC Comics staff. In November 2020, it was announced that Wonder Woman 1984 and all of the WB 2021 movies would be hitting theaters and on the day and date of HBO Max, which alienated many of the studio’s longtime filmmakers and saw Christopher Nolan leave the studio and move on to Universal Pictures for his latest film. Oppenhiemer.
In a recent profile of WSJ on the book Tinderbox: HBO’s Merciless New Frontiers Pursuits by writer James Andrew Miller, an expert features former Time Warner CEO Bewkes discussing his disappointment with AT&T’s management of Warner Bros. Although Bewkes does not regret the sale to AT&T, he is disappointed with the way AT&T announced his departure. the different divisions alone and how that did not happen. He and the board believed AT&T would trust the various division heads who had more experience. Bewkes said:
“We didn’t think they would go to such a level of professional misconduct that they wouldn’t listen to anyone … even if they had no experience in these areas themselves.”
In May 2021, AT&T announced that it was parting ways with WarnerMedia and would merge it with Discovery to create Warner Bros. Discovery. The merger is expected to be finalized in mid-2022 and will allow AT&T shareholders to retain a 71% stake in the new company. Talks are currently underway to merge HBO Max and Discovery + into a single streaming service, a move that could increase the appeal of the two services and allow them to compete with Disney + and Netflix.
Warner Bros. has had a tough road for business owners, as AOL’s short-lived acquisition has been described by Bewkes as the biggest mistake in company history. Time under AT&T has been short, but in those three years the company has changed a lot with the launch of HBO Max and the expansion and adoption of a DC Multiverse to justify various incarnations of the same hero existing on different. platforms just to name a few. Yet in recent years as well, the company has also alienated the best creatives, laid off large numbers of their employees, and failed to deal with toxic work environments across the board. Justice League. Warner Bros. reputation has taken a hit in recent years, and it takes a lot of work to repair that trust.
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