AT&T President John Stanky sends a farewell note to Warnermedia staff

AT&T President John Stanky, who oversaw the telecommunications company’s abandoned journey into the media world after concluding his contract with Discovery WarnerMedia, said goodbye to his soon-to-be-coming former colleagues. Stanky led AT&T’s acquisition of DirectTV and Time Warner in 2015 and 2018, before replacing Randall Stephenson as CEO of AT&T in July 2020.

“My respect and admiration for those I have worked closely with is constant and I miss learning with you and continuing to solve problems,” Stanki wrote. “I miss particularly wondering about the work behind the scenes to create significant stories and executions that come from your daily interest. Your friendship and support will always be remembered when not needed.

The $ 43 billion acquisition of Warner Media is expected to end on Friday, with the new company Warner Bros. Discovery opening for business on Monday morning. David Jaslow, head of Discovery, the mastermind of the deal, will be firmly in control of a company with a portfolio that includes HBO, TNT, CNN, Food Network, HGTV and TLC. Stanky predicted that the new company would be in a good position to compete in a media landscape dominated by the likes of Netflix and Disney.

“I firmly believe we have set the right path,” Stanki wrote. “Over time, the combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery will create a strong company that will accelerate the already strong pace of innovation and change you have established. I want to enjoy the fruits of your labor as you build the future of WBD! But most of all, I am excited to stand on one side for your continued success in establishing one of the most beloved media brands in the world.

Under the ownership of AT&T, WarnerMedia moved aggressively into the streaming space, launching its own Netflix Challenger HBOMax in May 2020. The service eventually attracted 74 million subscribers and exceeded expectations. But the combination of credit and regulatory delays also helped to dismantle the connection, just as AT&T needed to raise additional capital to build its 5G network. AT&T aims to use the proceeds from the Warnermedia spinoff to repay a net debt of $ 156.2 billion at the end of 2021.

Many of Stanky’s executives who helped him lead WarnerMedia, including Jason Killer, who replaced him as president, and Ann Warner Brothers chairman Ann Sarnoff left when Discovery took over. Stanky praised Killer’s maid in his farewell note.

“The road is not easy or clear,” he wrote. “I would especially like to thank Jason and the entire WarnerMedia leadership for leading this significant evolution in some unprecedented times that we have not seen in the company, industry and the world.”

Here is Stanky’s full note:

To my Warner Media colleagues,

As we work to finalize the mix of Warner Media and Discovery and publish Warner Bros. Discovery, I would like to share some ideas with you.

In July 2018, I wrote to you:

We have a unique opportunity to truly lead the change in media and entertainment, direct consumer distribution and technology. We are at a rare point of penetration – the direction and structure of content and distribution – which is central to how everyone on the planet interacts with the community and those around them – which is designed for future decades.

Today we can clearly see that you have created a remarkable work from the moment I mentioned it almost four years ago. There is no doubt that this is still a job, but your achievements are excellent. The results and the path are clear. Three short-lived and proud companies made tough choices and decisions four short years ago to collaborate and work together in unusual ways. In doing all the important work of managing businesses in transformation, you have brought the best that every company has to offer to create something new – the creators who want to be a part of and embrace the consumer world. You have laid the foundation to carry on proud heritage and layered brands for another decade with a broader and more engaging cultural impact than ever before.

You should receive greetings and compliments. The road is not easy or clear. I would especially like to thank Jason and the entire WarnerMedia leadership for spearheading this remarkable evolution at an unprecedented moment in the company, industry and the world. Those at the table truly understand the hardships and challenges that must be overcome to reach this moment. I’m glad to see the progress and success you have experienced, and I hope you will move on to this next chapter with even more opportunities. My heartfelt thanks.

I have always worked hard to live my life without regrets. I would like to say that I have nothing, but there are some. Shari was right when she said she should have had that fourth child! I’m going to end this chapter with you two – I’m disappointed that you did not come for the ride because you have successfully completed this significant change and lost some of the regular contact in the professional relationships I enjoyed the most. My respect and admiration for those I have worked closely with is constant, and I miss learning more with you and problem solving. I especially miss looking at the work behind the scenes to create remarkable stories and executions that come from your daily interest. Your friendship and support will always be remembered when not needed.

Achieving this moment was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I hope you are not surprised that it came with a reasonable amount of anxiety, frustration and anxiety compared to the provocative changes. All things considered, I firmly believe that we have set the right path. Over time, the combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery will create a strong company that will accelerate the already strong pace of innovation and change you have established. I want to enjoy the fruits of your labor as you build the future of WBD! But most of all, I am excited to stand on one side for your continued success in establishing one of the most beloved media brands in the world.

Greetings, thank you again, congratulations to all of you.
John

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