Warner Bros Discovery Sets Priya Dogra’s EMEA Team; Five Step Down As Local Managers Are Confirmed

Warner Bros. Discovery has officially laid out its senior EMEA leadership team under President and Managing for the region (excl Poland) Priya Dogra.

She unveiled the new-look structure today, revealing how local territory chiefs will feed into her centralized EMEA operation. Five senior execs — including former Country Managers Sylvia Rothblum, Susanne Aigner and Thomas Ciampa — are stepping down at the same time.

Each territory manager will be responsible for Warner Bros. Discovery’s combined businesses in their respective territories, working closely with the company’s global functions across streaming, sport, US programming and the Warner Bros Discovery studio.

The team is as follows, in alphabetical order:

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  • Alessandro Araimo becomes General Manager, Italy, Spain and Portugal. He was previously EVP and General Manager for Discovery in Italy.
  • Pierre Branco becomes General Manager, 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, CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean and Turkey. He was previously Country Manager for Discovery across CEE and Middle East & Africa.
  • Hannes Heyelmann becomes General Manager, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He was previously EVP Programming for WarnerMedia across EMEA.
  • Antonio Ruiz becomes General Manager, UK and Ireland. He was previously General Manager for Discovery in Spain, France and Portugal.
  • Christina Sulebakk becomes General Manager, Nordics. She was previously General Manager of HBO Max across Europe.

Also confirmed in post are Vanessa Brookman, who continues as SVP Kids and Family, 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 remains with oversight of original production for HBO Max across EMEA and original production for WarnerMedia general entertainment channels in Germany, France and Spain.

Ragnhild Thorbech keeps programming and acquisitions duties for HBO Max EMEA, while Myriam Lopez-Otazu continues her responsibilities, which include investment for the Discovery linear channels and Discovery+. She’ll work closely with the territory GMs and coordinate with the US programming team.

Qaisar Rafique expands his Discovery role to become lead for commercial strategy expanding the role he played at Discovery to the broader portfolio and, as previously announced, Leah Hooper is regional lead for Streaming for EMEA, sitting on JB Perrette’s leadership team and taking a place on Dogra’s senior team.

‘Balance Of Experience, Perspective And Talent’

Former WarnerMedia exec Dogra took up her EMEA role following Warner Bros and Discovery’s merger, with Discovery Europe’s Kasia Kieli remaining in charge of Discovery’s strategically important Poland operation.

“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.”

Of those departing, Rothblum was Country Manager, Germany, Austria and Switzerland for WarnerMedia, while Aigner was SVP and General Manager, Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Benelux for Discovery. Ciampa was WarnerMedia’s Country Manager for Italy, Spain and Portugal.

The other exits are Lydia Fairfax, SVP Commercial Partnerships, EMEA for Discovery and David Fisher, Discovery’s VP Advance Advertising for Discovery.

“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,” said Dogra.

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