Warner Bros Discovery has revamped its group focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and announced its new executive team.
Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Asif Sadiq will head the group. Other key leaders include Karen Horne, SVP for North America; Rukasana Bhaijee, VP in Europe, Middle East and Africa; Niarchos Pabalis, director for Latin America; with a new role for Asia-Pacific to be announced soon. All four leaders will report to Sadiq.
The move comes nearly six months after the close of the $43 billion merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. The combined company has faced criticism in the early going over its decision to appoint a slate of entirely white, male directors to its board of directors and a relative lack of diversity in its top exec ranks. Advocates and lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have voiced their concerns.
In announcing the new configuration and team, WBD said it will “build on the strong foundation of both legacy companies, with established workforce programs and content/production initiatives continuing under a central strategy team.” The end goal will be to “drive long-term change both locally and worldwide.”
Overseeing these units will be Christian Hug, VP, Workforce; Grace Moss, VP, Pipeline Programs; and Yvette Urbina, VP, Content/Productions. These teams will work closely with the previously announced Creative and Business Councils, which will be led by WBD senior leaders.
Additionally, the global DEI team will collaborate and partner with Johnita Due who leads diversity for CNN in her role as EVP Integration and Inclusion, Sheereen Russell in her role as SVP for ad sales and inclusive monetization, and Monica Neal in her role leading DEI Communications and Marketing.
“A strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is a top priority for our company, and we are committed to doing everything we can to get this right — not only because it makes good business sense, but because it allows us to build stronger connections with employees, partners and consumers,” Sadiq said in the official announcement. “We have put in place an incredibly talented and experienced global team, and are in the process of building and implementing a strategy that will enable us to have a positive, lasting impact locally, regionally and beyond.”