Three months after former Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara stepped down from that position amid a sexual harassment scandal, parent AT&T has named BBC Studios Americas president Ann Sarnoff as chair and CEO of the unit.
Sarnoff brings more than 30 years of diverse business and media experience to the role -- from Viacom to the WNBA to Dow Jones and the BBC.
“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,” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said in a press release. “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.”
Sarnoff will be based in Los Angeles and will officially take the helm of the company later this summer, WarnerMedia said in a press release.
Tsujihara, who had led Warner Bros. for years, stepped down in March, shortly after he was named to head an expanded unit under its new ownership when published reports said the studio chief lobbied casting directors and other personnel to find roles for an actress with which he was having an affair. Warner Bros was run by a trio of executives in the interim -- Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich; Warner Bros. Television Group president and chief content officer PeterRoth and Warner Bros. EVP and chief financial officer Kim Williams.
“It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history,” Sarnoff said in a press release. “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 has been responsible for the company’s diversified business 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 Who, Top 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 offersU.S. and Canadian customers the largest collection of British television programming.
“Ann’s contribution to BBC Studios has been immense,” said BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie in a press release. “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.”