Dogra’s position at the studio changed in April after Gerhard Zeiler, president of international for the merged company, set out his leadership team for overseas. Zeiler, a former WarnerMedia executive, now oversees the global channels business with a “dotted line” to international streaming lead JB Perrette, a Discovery veteran. Zeiler previously held the same role for WarnerMedia, and now also has responsibility for Discovery’s international footprint.
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Under the new structure, Dogra, formerly the president of WarnerMedia Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (excluding China), focuses only on EMEA (excluding Poland). Based in London, she’s responsible for integrating and operating the Discovery and WarnerMedia International orgs across the region.
“My focus has been to build a senior team that harnesses and balances the experience, perspective and talent from across the Discovery and WarnerMedia businesses,” said Dogra. “Each leader will be responsible for continuing the necessary transitions into new means of distribution and new forms of growth, as well as integrating our two organisations into one team, with one clear strategy and a common, respectful culture.”
What’s clear about the new structure is an aggressive territory focus for senior leaders in EMEA, whose expertise is being harnessed in key markets. For example, executives such as Munich-based Hannes Heyelmann, the former executive VP of programming for WarnerMedia across EMEA, is now overseeing three markets: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Meanwhile, the Denmark-based Christina Sulebakk, who was previously general manager for HBO Max in Europe, will now focus only on the Nordics.
Warner Bros. Discovery said the executives included in the new structure will be responsible for the “combined businesses in their respective territories, working in close coordination with the company’s global functions across streaming, sport, U.S. programming, and the studio and for each line of business, developing territory-specific strategies to drive growth and efficiencies.”
These include pay and free-to-air networks; marketing and monetizing U.S. content across their lines of business including theatrical, licensing, consumer products, games and home entertainment; and a “shared responsibility for the streaming services.”
Those included in Dogra’s team are as follows:
Alessandro Araimo becomes general manager for Italy, Spain and Portugal. He was previously executive VP and general manager for Discovery in Italy.
Pierre Branco becomes general manager for France, Benelux and Africa. He was previously country manager for WarnerMedia in France, Benelux, Middle East and Africa and head of affiliates and ad sales for EMEA.
Jamie Cooke becomes general manager for CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean and Turkey. He was previously country manager for Discovery across CEE and Middle East and Africa.
Hannes Heyelmann becomes general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He was previously executive VP of programming for WarnerMedia across EMEA.
Antonio Ruiz becomes general manager for the U.K. and Ireland. He was previously general manager for Discovery in Spain, France and Portugal.
Christina Sulebakk becomes general manager for the Nordics. She was previously general manager for HBO Max across Europe.
Other executives that will be part of Priya Dogra’s leadership team and supporting the general managers across the region include:
Vanessa Brookman, who continues as senior VP of kids and family for EMEA and takes on responsibility for Adult Swim across EMEA with a dual reporting line to Michael Ouweleen, who leads Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang.
Antony Root continues his responsibilities for original production for HBO Max across EMEA as well as original production for the WarnerMedia general entertainment channels in Germany, France and Spain.
Ragnhild Thorbech continues her responsibilities for programming and acquisitions for HBO Max EMEA.
Myriam Lopez-Otazu continues her responsibilities for guiding investment, planning and prioritization for the Discovery linear channels and Discovery+ working closely with the territory GMs and coordinating with the U.S. programming team.
Qaisar Rafique becomes lead for commercial strategy expanding the role he played at Discovery to the broader portfolio.
Those who are leaving the company following the restructure include Sylvia Rothblum, country manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland for WarnerMedia; Susanne Aigner, GSVP and general manager for Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Benelux for Discovery; Thomas Ciampa, country manager for Italy, Spain and Portugal for WarnerMedia; Lydia Fairfax, senior VP of commercial partnerships for EMEA for Discovery; and David Fisher, VP of advance advertising for Discovery.
Dogra said of the departing executives: “Sylvia, Susanne, Thomas, Lydia and David have created enormous value for our company and each have shaped the careers of so many along the way. I am grateful for their many contributions and their assistance in ensuring a smooth transition and I wish them the very best.”
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