WarnerMedia’s “painful” layoffs predicted last month begun Tuesday with its CEO emailing staffers about the “critical” move in the evolution of the media giant.
“This is a very painful email to write,” began CEO Jason Kilar, who took over WarnerMedia back in the spring, Deadline reports. “And for a number of you reading this, I realize it will be even more painful to receive. For this, I am sorry.”
The founding Hulu CEO went on to refer to news he broached in August about plans “to meaningfully change the organizational structure of WarnerMedia (which entailed, among other items, simplifying how we organize our entertainment studios, elevating HBO Max, and consolidating our commercial activities in one organization).”
HBO, Warner Bros and Turner are currently in the process of merging since Time Warner was acquired in 2018, which preceded multiple layoffs. Parent AT&T is aiming to decrease its debt load of $151 billion.
The cuts in August, which saw about 600 jobs axed, saw the departure of HBO Max’s principal content chiefs Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly.
Though the coronavirus pandemic has devastated multiple industries, including entertainment, the layoffs were largely part of a strategy previously underway.
“Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team," said Kilar, who formerly served as an executive at Amazon. “This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations.”
The honcho went on to say the layoffs “are not in any way a reflection of the quality of the team members impacted, nor their work. It is simply a function of the changes I believe we must make in order to best serve customers.”
He added that affected staffers will receive severance and healthcare packages, as well as team member assistance programs and professional services.
“While I anticipate that organizationally, things will settle down materially in the weeks and months to come (we’ve worked hard to make this a process with a beginning, middle and an end), I don’t want to suggest that our future is static,” said Kilar, noting the company intends to continue “inventing ever better ways to move the world through story ... which entails embracing change.”
Kilar will hold a Town Hall on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, where he vowed to try and answer staffers' questions.
He signed off by thanking the departing colleagues, adding, “Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today’s news does not change that.”