Three months after Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tusijhara exited the post amidst misconduct allegations; president of BBC Studios Americas Ann Sarnoff is all set to become the first chairwoman and CEO of the giant media company. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey was keen on bringing in a woman to take on the position and high-profile names like Fox grad Stacey Snider, ex-Disney/ABC honcho Anne Sweeney, former Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer, and Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc were doing the rounds. But Sarnoff’s low key personality and digital stronghold made her the most sought-after among the rest.

Sarnoff at BBC North America ran the direct-to-consumer streaming service BritBox transformed it into a massive success with 800,000 subscribers. She brought the concept of BritBox and launched the streaming service from scratch along with negotiating all the partnerships involved including a content share partnership with ITV, ensuring that it was on other platforms too right from the beginning.

This is one of the key reasons for WarnerMedia to hire Sarnoff as they are prioritising their upcoming streaming service. Sarnoff will take over the functioning of studio’s new streaming service with combined content from Warners and HBO and bring it at par in competition with other top-notch streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Disney+.

At Warner Bros, she will also look after the DC, Harry Potter, and Looney Tune’s brands, along with television and interactive entertainment.

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“I am delighted Ann is joining the WarnerMedia team and excited to work side by side with such a talented and accomplished individual,” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said in a release announcing the hire, Deadline reported. “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. 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 at BBC North America ran the direct-to-consumer streaming service BritBox transformed it into a massive success with 800,000 subscribers. She brought the concept of BritBox and launched the streaming service from scratch along with negotiating all the partnerships involved including a content share partnership with ITV, ensuring that it was on other platforms too right from the beginning.

Sarnoff graduated from Georgetown and Harvard Business School and has a vast career spanning over 30 years that includes running consumer products and business development at Nickelodeon, COO of the Women’s Basketball Association, and president of Dow Jones Ventures. At BBC Studios America, she supervised the company’s business division in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Her management led to BBC Studios’ brands Doctor Who, Top Gear into becoming a global success, and the natural history brand BBC Earth.

“It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history,” Sarnoff said. “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.”

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