Warner Bros. Discovery defines communications leadership – The Hollywood Reporter
Warner Bros. Discovery has unveiled its restructured communications team, led by Nathaniel Brown after his recent arrival as director of corporate communications.
Brown, who is the studio’s chief spokesperson and oversees all global communications and media relations, announced that former Fox communications executive Megan Klein will be in charge of corporate communications.
And Laura Watson, who recently joined Warner Bros. Discovery of The Walt Disney Co., will oversee executive communications. Brown previously led corporate communications for Discovery, before merging with WarnerMedia earlier this year.
While the communications teams at Warner Bros. and Discovery are combined, the studio also indicated that Gregory Ho, Lauren McCabe, Janine Richardson, Caroline Rittenberry, Jennifer Toner, Rob Wheeler, Laura Young and Emily Zalenski will be leaving after a transition period.
Prior to joining Discovery in 2019, Brown was Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at 21st Century Fox and News Corp. In addition to implementing a new corporate leadership structure, following the closing of the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger earlier this year, Warner Bros. includes layoffs, as part of a pledge to reduce its balance sheet by $3 billion by 2023.
A copy of the internal memo, obtained by Hollywood journalist, follows:
It has been a very busy and productive past few months since the launch of our new combined company. During this time I have really enjoyed meeting and talking with many of you and I am grateful for your openness, ideas and patience throughout this process. Both inherited companies bring tremendous talent, and this is especially true for the Communications function, which makes me even more excited about the team we are building together for the future. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in some very difficult decisions as we streamline the organization and necessarily eliminate duplicate roles.
As you all know, effective communications are absolutely essential to the success of any organization, and at Warner Bros. Discovery, we take this responsibility and the opportunity it presents very seriously. Our goal is to establish a strong and unified global corporate communications function that spans our businesses and regions, while enabling us to act quickly and maintain consistency of messaging as we seek to protect and promote the interests of our company.
With this in mind, I am pleased to announce our Global Leadership Team for Corporate Communications and Media Relations in key functional areas, all under my responsibility:
Megan Klein – Corporate Communications. Megan joined WBD earlier this summer, having most recently led corporate communications for Fox Corporation. She brings a remarkable track record and a deep understanding of the full range of business and industry issues. She leads West Coast Communications and supports me in all corporate communications functions including Media Relations, Finance/Investor Relations, Government Affairs, DE&I, CSR and Legal. , and will serve as the company’s spokesperson. Reporting to Megan is Jade Ekstedt, Vice President, Corporate Communications, formerly with WarnerMedia Studios and Networks.
Laura Watson – Executive Communications. Laura recently joined us from The Walt Disney Company, where she built a solid track record overseeing executive communications. She will directly support our CEO and other C-suite executives and senior management, and will also be responsible for strategic planning and messaging, including for corporate investor relations, crisis management and media engagement functions. Reporting to Laura, Steven Piorkowski, Vice President, Corporate Communications.
Kim Page – Internal communications. Kim will oversee all communications designed to inform and engage company employees globally. She held the same position at WarnerMedia, and before that she held a similar position at AT&T and Turner. Erin Wrigley, Vice President, Communications and Employee Engagement, and Melissa Jacobson, Vice President, Platforms and Digital Communications, continue to report to Kim. As previously announced, Tammy Shea, who oversaw internal communications for the Discovery legacy, has joined the P&C organization where she now leads employee engagement initiatives.
Blake Bryant – Global brands, franchises, experiences, home entertainment and licensing. Blake will continue to oversee communications for DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Themed Entertainment and the Global Franchise Strategy Group, while also assuming responsibility for Home Entertainment and Licensing. Katie Kotchka, Vice President, Communications, and Carrie Williams, Exec. Director, will continue to report to Blake, and under the new dual structure, so will Stuart Herriott, Vice President, Advertising and Home Entertainment.
Nate Smeltz – American Sports Communications. Nate will continue to oversee US sports communications working closely with Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports, and Luis Silberwasser, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, with a dotted line for me.
Monica Neal – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Monica and her team will continue to manage DEI communications, amplify internal and external programs and initiatives across the company, and support WBD’s incoming Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She reports jointly to Megan and myself.
Arielle Falkowitz – Corporate Relations. Arielle will oversee the planning of corporate events on behalf of the CEO and other C-suite executives, including those held at Hudson Yards and on the Lot. She will also continue to support industry relations and company-wide hospitality programs, as she has done in her role at Discovery. Maria Gardner, formerly of the Studios and Networks group, will join his team.
Cara Brugnoli – Revenue communications. Cara and her mixed team, to be announced at a later date, will oversee communications in support of the ad sales and distribution teams, the same responsibilities Cara had at Legacy Discovery. She will also oversee news and social media, together with Laura Watson.
The international and regional communications officers will be:
Fiona McLachlan – EMEA. Fiona will lead the communications team for the EMEA region, supporting Priya Dogra, Andrew Georgiou and others. She most recently led communications for Discovery Sport. We will be appointing a new sports manager under Fiona. I have asked Espen Skoland, who ran EMEA communications for the former Discovery, to stay on our team and he is considering other leadership positions in Europe. More to share in the coming weeks.
Selina Govan – Asia-Pacific. Selina will oversee the communications team for the APAC region, supporting James Gibbons, Clement Schwebig and others. She previously led APAC communications for the Discovery legacy.
LATAM — The Executive Search team is actively seeking internally and externally to identify a communications manager for the LATAM region to support Fernando Medin and others. The current communications team will report to this new leader.
As we combine and restructure company-wide communications functions, we unfortunately also have to say goodbye to a number of talented individuals who have contributed to the success of the legacy companies and WBD.
Gregory Ho, Lauren McCabe, Janine Richardson, Caroline Rittenberry, Jennifer Toner, Rob Wheeler, Laura Young and Emily Zalenski will leave after a transition period. We are truly grateful for their leadership, accomplishments and commitment over the years – to their teams and the organization. Each of them has had a significant and lasting impact, and we wish them all the best and much success in their future endeavours.
There are still many more details to be determined as we continue to build the right global communications team for the future and determine how best to support our senior leadership and operations around the world. I am excited and optimistic about the opportunities ahead of us and appreciate everyone’s continued patience and support throughout this process.
Stay tuned and keep up the great work.