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Warner Bros Discovery Reveals UK And Ireland Leadership Restructure Under Antonio Ruiz; Factual Vet Simon Downing To Depart

Warner Bros. Discovery UK & Ireland has unveiled its senior leadership team, which will work under new General Manager Antonio Ruiz.

The appointments include Clare Laycock taking on Editorial, including Local Content Production, Programming and Media Planning, Neil Marshall handed Theatrical Film Distribution and Local Film Production and Acquisition and Alison Morris leading TV Licensing and Digital Home Entertainment Distribution.

Other moves see Katie Coteman take on Ad-Sales, including Advertising, Digital Ad-Sales, Sponsorships and Sport Solutions; Alex Foley lead on Insights, Strategy and Retail Planning; Alex Lewis on Marketing, Creative Services, Brand Partnerships, Franchise Management, Social Media and Consumer PR; and Rachel Wakley overseeing Retail, Consumer Products, Physical Home Video, Games, Supply Chain and Experiences.

An Affiliate Sales leader and other appointments will followin due course.

Another change sees Allan Stenhouse departing the UK & Ireland business to join the Warner Bros Discovery International Television Distribution team leading marketing, reporting to Robert Blair, President of WBD International Television Distribution.

Warner Bros. Discovery General Manager, Antonio Ruiz, said: “Since I became General Manager for the UK & Ireland, I’ve been focused on defining our strategy and structure and today I am delighted to announce my new leadership team. Both legacy companies house tremendous talent which makes me even more excited about the organisation we are building for the future as we look to maximise our portfolio of brands, content, products and channels, along with our ambitions to deliver a hugely successful streaming business, in the UK & Ireland.”

Heading out the door is Simon Downing, who is leaving after 14 years, most recently serving as SVP Head of Factual and Sport UK.

“Simon has decided to leave the company to explore new opportunities after 14 years with the Discovery UK & Ireland business,” said a Discovery spokeswoman. 

WarnerMedia Head of Commercial Development Charlie Cubbon is also leaving after 25 years.

Ruiz was appointed to his role in June as part of WBD President and Managing Director of EMEA Priya Dogra’s restructure. He was formerly Warner Bros’ General Manager for Discovery in Spain, France and Portugal but is now one of six General Managers in position across the region.

Many questions remain about how WBD plans to merge the HBO Max and Discovery+ streamers, as per the vision of CEO David Zaslav. WBD has already halted production of HBO Max originals in many spots across Europe as it rejigs its focus and attempts to make several billion dollars worth of savings across the wider business.

WBD is due to report its second quarter earnings tomorrow, with details expected on the merged streamer, company structure and/or theatrical-streaming film strategy. The industry was shocked yesterday when it emerged WBD was shelving big budget films Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt.

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