With the shift to WarnerMedia, symbolized by President Turner's double exit David Levy, and HBO leader Richard Plepler, senior management teams are advised to stay on the job and not panic during restructuring of the organization.
According to some sources, today's conversations have not taken the form of large-scale public meetings, but rather small gatherings of executives, particularly at TNT, TBS, Cartoon. Network and the MTC. The people who convey the message are not the leaders of WarnerMedia, corporate or AT & T – who are finalizing the new organization chart and a highly anticipated announcement on the detailed plan – but rather the remaining leaders within networks. "It's not a game of operation at all, but senior management is just trying to keep everyone on track," said a Turner insider. "Many people are still trying to deal with what that will mean."
Another source said about Levy: "This is what tends to happen when you receive news like this about someone who is woven into the fabric of society as he or she 'has been. The people who are still here are trying to make it clear that we have a job to do and a lot to do. That's what he would urge us to do. Preparations for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and ongoing work on Turner's ad sales are high on the agenda for March. The source said Levy came to the office as usual Friday. No official end date has been specified for his nearly 33-year career with the company.
Some major chess pieces have already been moved to the Turner Plateau. In January, Kevin Reilly, former head of TNT and TBS, was named to head WarnerMedia's next streaming service. Sarah Aubrey, who had been Reilly's lieutenant, took on a similar role on the streaming side and Brett Weitz was promoted to managing director of TNT and TBS.
AT & T closed its $ 81 billion acquisition of Time Warner last June, but escaped the government's court challenges three days ago with the unanimous decision of a three-judge panel of the court federal appeal. According to reports, former NBCUniversal President Bob Greenblatt is in discussion to take on an important role in overseeing WarnerMedia's new streaming service.
Wall Street often rewards company layoffs, but the release of two seasoned executives at AT & T did not seem to reassure many investors. The company's stock price at midday was down 1% to $ 30.78. On the day of the closing of the merger on June 12, the closing was $ 34.35.
The executive reshuffle continues as thousands of New York-based WarnerMedia workers move to a new headquarters at Hudson Yards, a newly developed area along the Hudson River. The move over the next few weeks will bring together previously separate divisions into one building, with HBO's long-standing headquarters on Sixth Avenue near Bryant Park being vacated. Turner and CNN will leave the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.
John Stephenson, AT & T CFO, speaking earlier this week at the Morgan Stanley Investor Conference, said real estate is an area in which the company plans to realize cost savings. The management "is actively working on a broad real estate portfolio – office buildings, headquarters buildings, land, as well as on the entire balance sheet of our total assets of $ 500 billion," Stephens said. "If you think in terms of capabilities, if you can find 2% of those assets to sell, that's $ 10 billion. So, it's infinitely feasible.
In the same interview, Stephens assured that WarnerMedia would join the AT & T group. "We wanted to protect the culture," he said. "A financial bean counter from a phone company does not want to ruin what is a tremendous asset."
Just 24 hours later, Plepler and Levy had made it known that they were leaving the company after a combined term of about 60 years.