June 24, 2019 / 4:42 PM / 23 days ago

WarnerMedia names Ann Sarnoff as CEO of Warner Bros

FILE PHOTO: Ann Sarnoff, Chief Operating Officer of BBC Worldwide America, speaks during the 2011 Bloomberg Media Summit in New York March 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) - WarnerMedia on Monday said it appointed Ann Sarnoff as the chief executive officer of Warner Bros, the first woman to run one of Hollywood’s most powerful studios in its 96-year history.

Sarnoff, currently president of BBC Studios Americas, will take over the studio behind “Wonder Woman,” “Friends” and the Harry Potter franchise, following a scandal involving its previous studio chief.

“I want to work closely with colleagues across WarnerMedia and make the whole more than the part,” Sarnoff said in a phone interview. “I want to take what is a very successful legacy and history and make it even stronger going forward.”

AT&T Inc, the second largest U.S. wireless carrier, acquired Warner Bros as part of its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner last year. Some Warner Bros content will be distributed on a new WarnerMedia streaming service set to launch in early 2020.

The former chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, Kevin Tsujihara, resigned from the studio in March, following a report that the married executive had sought help securing roles for an actress after the two had sex. Tsujihara’s attorney denied the executive played a “direct role” in the actress’ hiring.

Sarnoff will report to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.

“Ann has shown the ability to innovate and grow revenues and has embraced the evolution taking place in our industry,” Stankey said in a statement.

Sarnoff has also held leading executive roles at the National Basketball Association, Viacom and Dow Jones.

Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Li, Shailesh Kuber and Leslie Adler

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