AT&T WarnerMedia CEO Kilar says he will stay into 2022 -source

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for AT&T is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Sheila Dang and Helen Coster

(Reuters) -Jason Kilar, chief executive of AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia unit, said during an internal meeting on Thursday that he plans to remain in his role through this year and will reassess his options in 2022, according to a source familiar with the matter.

AT&T announced last week that it would spin off its media assets and merge them with Discovery Inc, ending the wireless carrier’s ambitious foray into media, and raising questions about Kilar’s future at the company.

“My plan and my focus is to remain here in my CEO role at WarnerMedia,” Kilar said during the meeting. “I am not thinking right now about post-merger. There will be a time to consider that topic in 2022.”

“Because I believe we have unfinished business and the work of the next year can and should be extremely fulfilling as the world continues to see what we are capable of doing,” Kilar added.

The new company to be formed by WarnerMedia and Discovery will be led by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, which will comprise one of Hollywood’s most powerful studios, including the Harry Potter and Batman franchises, news network CNN, sports programming and Discovery’s unscripted home, cooking, and nature and science shows.

On a call with reporters after the deal had been announced, executives said details about Kilar’s future had yet to be worked out. Executives also said they have yet to work out how the companies’ combined properties and services will be arranged.

The deal is expected to close in mid-2022, pending approval by Discovery shareholders and regulatory approvals.

The companies have not announced the name of the proposed new company.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang and Helen Coster. Editing by Franklin Paul, Kirsten Donovan)