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WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar resigns ahead of Discovery merger

WarnerMedia is officially getting a new boss as it merges with Discovery. 

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced Tuesday he'll be resigning from his position. "With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing close, now is the right time to share with each of you that I will be departing this amazing company," Kilar said

Kilar joined WarnerMedia in May 2020 after previous gigs at Hulu and Amazon. During his tenure, he oversaw a controversial decision to release every 2021 Warner Bros. movie in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, which received pushback from theaters and directors including Christopher Nolan. A co-producer of one of the movies affected, The Matrix Resurrections, is currently suing Warner Bros. over the move, arguing it harmed the film's box office performance. By the end of 2021, though, HBO Max topped subscriber forecasts

"We took a fair bit of heat for the decision," Kilar told The Wall Street Journal

In 2021, Kilar also oversaw another controversial decision to ask CNN President Jeff Zucker to resign over an undisclosed relationship with a colleague. Kilar was later grilled by CNN staffers, who reportedly argued in a tense meeting that the "punishment didn't fit the crime." 

"There are times in this role where decisions need to be made that may not be popular but are important to make," Kilar told the Journal. "Being a leader is not a popularity contest." 

After WarnerMedia's merger with Discovery was announced last year, The New York Times reported Kilar was kept in the dark about it and was hiring a legal team to negotiate his exit, though he ended up staying on for almost a year after this. 

The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger was approved in February, and Variety reports it could officially close as soon as this Friday.