(June 24, 2019 – New York, NY) – WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey today announced the appointment of Ann Sarnoff as the new Chair and CEO of Warner Bros. Sarnoff, who is currently President, BBC Studios Americas (formerly BBC Worldwide Americas), brings more than thirty years of diversified business and media experience to the role of overseeing worldwide operations at Warner Bros. including the production, marketing and distribution of film, television and interactive entertainment.
“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,” said Stankey. “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 comes to Warner Bros. with an established track record spanning an array of prominent media and entertainment businesses from Viacom to the NBA to Dow Jones to the BBC. Her vast knowledge from this range of experience puts the company in the hands of a seasoned, successful executive that is keenly aware of the continuous need to innovate. A widely admired leader, she has full appreciation and respect for the creative process and has worked in close collaboration with talent and business partners for many years to develop effective engagement strategies for global audiences.
“It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history. Warner Bros. has been an industry leader for decades and is known for creating many of the most iconic film, television and gaming properties,” said Sarnoff. “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 driving growth and profit across the company’s diversified business division 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 offers U.S. and Canadian customers the largest collection of British television programming.
“Ann’s contribution to BBC Studios has been immense,” said Tim Davie, CEO BBC Studios. “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.”
During a leadership transition, Warner Bros. was managed by an interim team of leaders made up of Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group and Kim Williams, EVP & CFO, Warner Bros.
“I want to thank Toby, Peter and Kim for stepping up during this transition and making sure Warner Bros. didn’t miss a beat. Their commitment to delivering operationally and creatively is evident in our results over the last several months. It’s clear that Ann becomes part of a team that is second-to-none,” Stankey added.
Sarnoff will be based in Los Angeles and will officially join the company later this summer.
Additional biographical information:
Alongside her role at BBC Studios Americas, Sarnoff also served as head of BBC Worldwide’s Global Production Network from 2016-2018 and was charged with developing the strategy for and optimizing the company’s global production operations. From 2010, when she joined the company, to 2015, Sarnoff was COO, BBC Worldwide North America, where she was responsible for most major revenue streams for the company and led cross-business franchise development for global brands, resulting in significant revenue gains. Sarnoff led the team that increased distribution of BBC America across the country to 80 million subscribers and managed the transition of digital program sales to where they exceeded linear program sales.
Prior to joining BBC Worldwide, Sarnoff was President of Dow Jones Ventures and Senior Vice President of Strategy. In this role, she was responsible for leveraging the assets of Dow Jones to create new businesses focusing on digital and B-to-C markets, and for overseeing corporate strategy and business development.
During her career, Sarnoff also served as COO for the Women’s National Basketball Association, where she was recruited by and sat on the executive team of NBA Commissioner David Stern. In addition to running the league’s business operations and overseeing player personnel and programs, Sarnoff redefined the WNBA brand, secured new sponsorships, and instituted innovative marketing campaigns for the league.
Sarnoff has also worked with some of the best-known brands in television while at Viacom from 1993-2003. As Nickelodeon’s Executive Vice President for Consumer Products and Business Development, she led the team that launched the channel Noggin, and then pioneered a franchise-building approach to properties like Rugrats and Blue’s Clues, growing Nickelodeon consumer products into a multi-billion-dollar revenue business at retail. Subsequently, she became COO for VH1 and CMT where, in addition to strategic planning and business operations, she oversaw the company’s websites, radio, audio and video products, and launched the channel VH1 Classic.
Sarnoff holds a BS from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She sits on the boards of PayPal Holdings, Inc. and Georgetown University, and is the vice chair of the advisory board of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown. She also serves as co-chair of the Digital Task Force for New York Public Radio. She has two adult children, and presently lives in New York City with her husband.
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, truTV and others.
WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).
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