Warner Bros gets first woman CEO with appointment of Ann Sarnoff

Ms Ann Sarnoff is currently president of BBC Studios America and has more than 30 years of business and media experience.
Ms Ann Sarnoff is currently president of BBC Studios America and has more than 30 years of business and media experience.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - AT&T named Ms Ann Sarnoff as chief executive officer of Warner Bros, filling a key vacancy created by the departure of Mr Kevin Tsujihara following a sex scandal.

Ms Sarnoff is currently president of BBC Studios America and has more than 30 years of business and media experience, AT&T's WarnerMedia division said on Monday (June 24). She will oversee the worldwide operations of Warner Bros, including film and television production, marketing, distribution and interactive entertainment.

The top post at Warner Bros was the biggest opening in Hollywood and a prized role. The studio releases more than 30 films annually, including blockbuster superhero movies, and is a major producer of TV shows and video-game franchises.

Ms Sarnoff comes to Warner Bros with a record spanning a variety of media and entertainment businesses, from Viacom to the National Basketball Association, Dow Jones and BBC. She will officially join the company later this summer, working in Los Angeles.

Mr Tsujihara's March exit came at a difficult moment for AT&T, which had recently acquired Time Warner and was working to integrate the newly christened WarnerMedia into its operations.

The 54-year-old executive had an affair with an actress and helped her get roles in movies, according to a report in the Hollywood Reporter. The magazine also alleged that the relationship was linked to a US$450 million (S$608 million) film-financing deal to back movies produced by the Burbank, California-based studio.